COA launches online workout classes

CASSOPOLIS — Last week, Cassopolis resident Taylor Lee donned a pair of leggings and a pink T-shirt ready to teach a fitness class.

Flanked on each side by a fellow fitness instructor prepared to demonstrator modifications to the exercises, Lee welcomed those attending her class and began to march in place.

“I have a full-body strength routine for you,” Lee said as she began to move. “We are going to work everything from our legs to our core to our arms.”

However, unlike a typical class, Lee’s feet echoed against the floor of a mostly empty room. Instead of teaching to a live audience, Lee was recording her routine to be later broadcast into the homes of senior citizens across Cass County.

The Cass County Council on Aging recently launched online workout videos for Cass County residents to do inside the home while the COA’s facilities remain closed, and fitness classes remain canceled due to COVID-19 mandates. So far, the COA has posted two videos on its website, casscoa.org, and its YouTube channel, Cass County COA. Though no more videos had been recorded at the time of publishing, Lee said the COA plans to release more videos to help seniors — and anyone — stay active through the duration of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

“When all of this happened with the quarantining, one of the other instructors had the brilliant idea of doing videos so people who cannot come into the center can still stay healthy and active and keep up with their fitness routine,” Lee, a certified personal training and fitness assistant at the COA, said. “This is something manageable. It’s not too much, and it’s not intimidating.’

Each of the videos released by the COA is meant to be less than 20 minutes long and easily modifiable to ensure the exercises are manageable and accessible to people of all fitness levels, Lee said. The one video Lee has instructed so far features full-body strength training and shows viewers how to modify the exercises to accommodate a seated position.

“These are just simple moves you can do to strengthen your body at home,” she said. “You don’t need any equipment, but you can add dumbbells or even soup cans if you want something a little extra.”

Teaching a virtual class was a change of pace for Lee, who typically works with clients one-on-one. Despite the challenges of having to anticipate viewers’ needs ahead of time rather than addressing it at the moment, Lee said she is happy that she can help people stay active at this time.

“I think it is important in general to stay physically active, even more so now,” she said. “Physical and mental health are connected. It’s difficult to stay quarantined right now, so staying active really helps.”

Lee said she would encourage anyone to tune into the videos to stay active, healthy and feeling well while at home. Personally, she said she always feels better after working out — tired, but better.

“The workouts are easy and fun to do,” she said. “It will keep people moving, and they won’t regret doing them.”