Local seniors embrace online exercise
TILLSONBURG, ONT. -- For Oxford County seniors Barb and Julian Greaves the, reality of COVID-19 is on their minds most of the time these days.
“It’s frightening. It’s a different world. It’s almost surreal, for all of us, I think,” Barb tells CTV News.
But while there is no escaping the situation we all face, there is an outlet to provide some sense of normalcy for the Greaves and other seniors.
The couple are taking part in online exercise classes coordinated by Abby Malott, a health & wellness coordinator at Tillsonburg-based Stoneridge Community Services.
In her role, Malott oversees a team of four who operate wellness and exercise programs, generally face-to-face, for those over 55.
But COVID-19 has change all of that.
So, over the past few weeks, they’ve taken to creating YouTube and Facebook exercise videos. And starting Wednesday, a livestream on Zoom.
“Prior to the social distancing our class sizes were sometimes 10, sometimes 20, sometimes 40. Now we’re getting hundreds of people watching our videos and sometimes thousands. So it’s really encouraging for a small community-based organization.”
Malott acknowledges using the new technology is a stress for some senior clients, but most have embraced it.
Email and regular mail remain for those who find online options too much, but Malott says the vast majority have quickly adapted.
The exercise videos and livestreamed classes included several low-impact options designed for seniors and those with mobility issues. They include cardio, strength training and even pilates.
The most recent class was held outdoors, with Malott on her back deck, but most are done from the comfort of the four instructors' homes.
She’s grateful the COVID-19 did not happen 15 years ago, when even YouTube wasn’t a viable option. She believes today’s online options keep seniors in shape, not only in body, but in mind.
“I think part of why people come to our exercise programs is to be connected and engage. So we wanted to keep that social connection in place through this time.”
Barb and Julian says that’s exactly what’s happened for them.
“We’re in a position where my husband needs this for his balance issues, but both of us benefit from doing this. But it’s so nice to have the social interaction also.”
While live classes are only open to participants in the program, videos posted on Stonebridge’s Facebook and YouTube are available to those from outside the area.
You can watch some of the posted videos on YouTube.