Every day, Circle of Care clients turn on their computers, tablets, and phones, and log in for a variety of exercise classes offered online.
These classes, introduced in response to physical distancing requirements as a result of COVID-19, help bring older adults from across north Toronto and York Region together for at-home workouts.
Pre-pandemic, Circle of Care offered over 150 classes in various locations in the community, including apartment buildings and community centres. When COVID became a critical health crisis in March, in-person classes were cancelled, leaving participants at home without a connection to the instructors that they knew and trusted, and without the camaraderie of their fellow workout friends.
Circle of Care staff worked hard to transition the program online, starting off with a weekly Friday class, and quickly growing the program to offer multiple daily classes. Currently, there are 15 classes offered each week, each focusing on a different aspect of exercise. Classes include yoga, weights and bands, and gentle exercises.
“There’s something for everyone,” says Exercise and Falls Prevention Supervisor Laura Tichonchuk. “We’ve taken feedback from our program participants to help us offer classes that they want to see, and exercises that they want to do.”
The response from participants has been overwhelmingly positive.
“Every day I look forward to Mary Anne’s class on Zoom. I feel like she is my personal trainer,” says program participant Erika Villinger. “Her workouts are tremendous, all-encompassing. I am very grateful for the opportunity to push myself each day through her classes.”
With the challenges and fears of going outside during the pandemic, the classes offer a means of exercising without leaving home.
“I’m so grateful to have this program available. It certainly adds to my day, especially during this unbelievable time we’re living through,” says Rhoda, one of the participants.
“I think I can speak for everyone about how grateful we are, because it is so difficult these days to go out and get enough exercise,” adds Barb Moss, another participant.
If you are interested in joining our virtual exercise classes, visit our program page to learn more and sign up for our online classes today.