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Fitness centers go online to keep people moving

Kim Fundingsland/MDN Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts is donating pre-cut fabric for the purpose of making face masks to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. People are asked to pick up the material, sew masks and return them to the store for distribution.

The gym might be closed, but that doesn’t mean Minot area residents can’t continue to work out.

Minot fitness centers are reaching out to members and others in the community through online platforms to encourage them to stay active despite social distancing that’s keeping them close to home.

SOS Image is offering 30- to 45-minutes live workouts for gym members and the public on its Facebook page at noon and 5:30 p.m. every day. The workouts are recorded for later viewing on YouTube and Facebook.

Owner Sara Dufner said people who lack fitness supplies at home are invited to be creative. For instance, backpacks filled with cans or water bottles can serve as weights.

She said the live workouts have drawn as many as 150 people, with as many as 800 hits over the course of a day.

“We have friends all over the country and all over the world,” said Dufner, who has international friends who have been sharing her Facebook videos. “This is literally going worldwide. It’s kind of fun to have comments in different languages.”

Spectrum Fitness is offering its recorded fitness classes to the public for $10 a month so they can work out at home. Owner Rachelle Sian said she created the workout website last fall, finishing it in December. It turned out to be good timing, given the disruption from the coronavirus.

The website can be found at http://spectrumfitnessonline.mykajabi.com. The $10 charge covers website expenses.

Sian also posts live workouts on Spectrum’s Facebook page that later are added to the website. She keeps the workouts practical for people exercising at home. A recent workout used a chair and broomstick as workout tools. Another used toilet paper rolls. The workouts also are easily modified to different fitness levels.

The library includes videos in the categories of Pilates, weights and cardio, body weight and cardio, and spin class.

Spectrum Fitness members have access to additional content through a private Facebook page. Sian said members have been supportive of the business and not wanting to drop their memberships even though the center is closed. Her response has been to create the extra content so they not only can continue to find value in their memberships but maintain contact with their instructors and each other.

“It’s more than important. It’s vital,” Sian said of that contact. “That’s why people join group fitness in the first place. They need that accountability.”

Anytime Fitness has been posting virtual fitness videos produced by its corporate personnel. It also has begun a series of stretching videos, posted each morning, that consists of four or five stretches people can do during the day.

It also has just started the Healthy Habits Stack Challenge. The 21-day challenge includes seven habits added to the daily routine gradually.

“It takes 21 days to make a proper habit,” explained Michelle Varty, manager for the north Minot Anytime Fitness. “If you start habits all at once, it’s not really feasible. If we add them in gradually, you have a nice stack of healthy habits.”

The first challenge under way is getting at least seven hours of sleep every 24 hours. A new challenge will be added every three days, including habits such as water consumption, 10 minutes of daily activity, 10 minutes of outside time, no alcohol and adding fruits and vegetables to meals.

Anytime Fitness will post encouragement and reminders three or four times a day during the challenge.

“Anyone can comment. Anyone can do any of this. We definitely want to get as many people involved as possible,” Varty said. “We are going to work up a prize for the person who is most engaged with it.”

Engagement can include commenting frequently, sharing posts daily and tagging friends. Anytime Fitness is looking for people who go above and beyond and inspire others, Varty said.

She noted the changes people are dealing with related to COVID-19 have increased stress in the community, and these healthy habits can aid in maintaining both physical and mental health during this time.

Additionally, Anytime Fitness members have access to a fitness app that provides them with exercise and stretching videos they can do to stay fit and reduce stress while the centers are closed.

Planet Fitness in Minot has closed its doors but is offering a daily Facebook Live workout for free to anyone in the community. It posted on its Facebook page that these 20-minute or less workouts will require no equipment and will feature Planet Fitness trainers and some celebrity guests.

Minot Family YMCA has begun offering online workout videos at no cost through YMCA360. It encourages people to walk outdoors, and if walking around the Y, keep an eye out for the nine bison in the windows. Check the Facebook page for clues to finding the bison. Post a photo with one and be entered into a drawing for a plush bison.

Forever Fitness, which provides a gym setting with equipment for members, is closed, but staff have been checking in with members and keeping them informed about future plans.

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