Working (out) from home: Many central Ohioans turn to virtual fitness, personal equipment

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
A fitness class is videotaped at the Westerville Community Center, 350 N. Cleveland Ave., with instructor Robin Andes.

Resources are available for central Ohio residents who might have gained some unwanted weight during the pandemic – or what some refer to as the COVID-19 pounds.

The YMCA of Central Ohio and some local parks and recreation departments are offering virtual fitness programs, whereas businesses are trying to keep up with the demand for home exercise equipment.

Kisha Swift, YMCA director of marketing and communications, said a workout of the day is available to everyone for free through the Virtual YMCA online at ymcacolumbus.org.

The  Y WODs (Workouts of the Day) will guide a participant's fitness journey from home, crafted by Y health and wellness professionals, according to the website. 

“We have helped our members through offering virtual workouts but have not tapped into feedback from them to see what has been really effective in helping them to lose weight,” Swift said. “One area we are concentrating on now is offering our older adult population virtual resources to help support their mental and physical health.”

She said some virtual offerings are available that are free for a limited time, with each focusing on a different audience and levels of access. 

“Our virtual YMCA is a new space for us and something we are still evolving,” Swift said.  

More virtual program choices will be offered in February and March, she said.

Online workouts are prerecorded and help people stay active physically, boost the immune system and improve mental health, according to Swift.

As leaders of health and wellness, she said, the Y realizes everyone has a different comfort level leaving the home during the pandemic and wants its members and the communities to know the Y still is here for them. 

The YMCA of Central Ohio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the community, focuses on developing the potential of children, improving individual health and well-being, giving back and supporting neighbors.

Facilities are in Canal Winchester, Columbus, Delaware, Gahanna, Grove City, Hilliard, Columbus' Hilltop, Powell, Reynoldsburg and Whitehall.

Virtual evolution

Mike Phillips, recreation and operations superintendent for Westerville Parks & Recreation, said people should be on the lookout for Westerville’s Virtual Rec Center online at parks.westerville.org/programs/virtualrecreation

“We’re expanding it,” he said. “We have a bunch of fitness classes videotaped. We’re going to be unveiling a virtual package you can access through our website and get access to a number and variety of virtual experiences, from culinary to a couple craft classes.”

He said the virtual rec center is here to stay.

“This isn’t just because of COVID,” he said. “It’s fast-forwarding things for us because of COVID. A lot of people have busy lives, and we want to reach them wherever they’re at. That virtual side of things allows us that access to them in their homes to still obtain quality programs and classes we’ll offer.”

Brett Rybak, public-relations specialist for Westerville Parks & Recreation, said several dance virtual fitness programs are available, along with strength, yoga, senior fit and tone and low-impact land aerobics. 

He said more would be added in the coming months and that some free programs would be available to everybody, but several will be available to only those with a Westerville Community Center pass.

“We’ve learned so much more (since spring) to really broaden our foundation,” Phillips said. “We need to reach people in their homes right now. Once COVID is over, we’ll have so many deals for people to come and shed the COVID-19 and re-socialize and reacclimate.”

CrossFit champ classes

Coach Shellie Edington of Edington Family Fitness is a 2016 CrossFit Games master champion offering online classes for all ages through central Ohio parks and recreation departments in Gahanna, Powell, Reynoldsburg and Upper Arlington. She’s also working with Westerville, offering a children-only program.

She said the classes are for all fitness levels and include warm-ups, strength development, workouts and cooldowns.

Shellie Edington, a 2016 CrossFit Games master champion, is offering online classes for all ages through several central Ohio parks and recreation departments.

“We focus primarily on body-weight movements so little to no equipment is required,” Edington said. “We recommend a weighted backpack, but if you have dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell, they can be utilized.”

The Fitness with Shellie classes for adults include a workout Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. She said the classes are live from 6 to 6:45 a.m., and then she shares a Zoom link with all who have enrolled. The links are good for five days.

“As we step into 2021, it is a wonderful time to reset, refocus and take control of the controllable in our lives,” Edington said. “Taking time for yourself (and) setting aside one hour a day to exercise, organize your thoughts and just ‘be’ aids in boosting your mood and metabolism.”

She recommends planning a menu for the week and include healthful vitamins and rich foods to boost the immune system and fuel the body. Edington also suggests seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

“All of these disciplines are controllable, and we are not always going to be 100% on it, but taking these steps will be a great start in your health journey,” Edington said.

For more details about her Gahanna classes, cost and registration, go online at ow.ly/KogV50CNjpm.

Carrin Wester, Gahanna communications manager, said classes are discounted for Gahanna residents, but all may register. Class size is limited, so signing up early is recommended.

Find classes by going to recreation.cityofpowell.us and clicking on the Register Now button. Then click on "Strength & Stretch" under "Fitness + Health & Wellness," or scroll down to "Fit Kids" under "Tumblin4Kids."

To register for Reynoldsburg classes, go to tinyurl.com/y3kklluh.

To register for Westerville’s “PE Class with Coach Shellie: go to tinyurl.com/y2j2gdhv

Upper Arlington’s classes are online at tinyurl.com/y5p6jw2b.

Home gyms

Chris Shaw, regional manager of G&G Fitness Equipment, 2656 Sawmill Place Blvd., Columbus, said the demand for home fitness equipment has risen tremendously.

“People are waiting up to two months,” he said. “Manufacturers can’t get it to us quick enough.”

He said the demand is for just about every type of equipment, including treadmills, ellipticals, home gyms and rowers, with the most popular being plates and dumbbells. 

“When everything happened in March, the biggest key thing for us was when the gyms closed on March 23,” Shaw said. “That’s where it went from day to night real quick. Our business absolutely blew up. We’re up tremendously through every segment of our company.”

Dominic Sanzo, owner of Play it Again Sports, 718 N. State St. in Westerville, said his business also has increased tremendously.

“From May 12, when we were allowed to reopen, our new fitness sales is up 226%,” he said. “Our used fitness is up 14% because no one is selling us their fitness equipment.”

Sanzo said dumbbells and weight plates are tough for him to come by because the manufacturers are sold out, too.

“We had a pretty good summer for sure,” Sanzo said. “We’re still behind because we missed two of our busiest months. We were closed for 60 days.”

He said he definitely was pleasantly surprised by the business boom.

“By September, I thought people would be selling their stuff back to us, and it just hasn’t happened,” Sanzo said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla