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UNC Campus Recreation offers online fitness classes for the campus community

DTH Photo Illustration. A woman does yoga via UNC Campus Recreation Live Restore Yoga class. Campus Rec offers live classes for students in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

Missing your favorite Zumba or HIIT class from UNC Campus Recreation? As of Monday, the facility is now offering free virtual fitness classes. 

The live fitness classes are offered every day on the Campus Recreation’s Facebook page. People without a Facebook account can still view the page and participate in the classes. 

“We've only done three classes so far,” Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness Lindsay Brookey said. “We did a couple of test classes last week. But so far, it's been great. The classes last night actually had a great turnout.”

Brookey said after all of the changes and facility closures, Campus Recreation brainstormed ideas as to how they could still meet the needs of the UNC community. 

“One of the really popular programs that we have that's free and available to everyone is our group fitness classes,” Brookey said. “And so, we kind of thought, how can we still deliver those and so one of the ways was to offer them live. And where our instructors could still get paid because that's another thing too.”

Brookey said the live classes will be saved so people can participate and re-watch whenever they want to. 

“And that was one thing that was important, is we know not everyone has the same schedule right now, so allowing people to be able to go back and re-watch it was important,” Brookey said. 

Many instructors said they are happy to provide an alternative exercise outlet for their participants.

“I want participants to be able to feel like they're in an actual class versus just being solely at home,” fitness instructor Hailey Brown said. 

While the instructors are focused on making the classes feel as normal as possible, teaching remotely does have its challenges. 

“It gives you energy to see everyone working just as hard as you are, if not more, to exercise and have fun,” Brown said. “So when you're alone in your room in your house, and you're staring at a screen, you don't necessarily have that energy or connection.” 

Despite not being in the same room as the instructor, sophomore Caitlin Sockin still enjoys Brown’s cardio dance classes as if they were in person. 

“I loved it,” Sockin said. “I always love Hailey's classes. There were a couple of technical issues. They were never issues with her, it was a little laggy on the second end of it.”

Even though Sockin misses being able to go to classes with friends, she said she can see the benefit of virtual classes for someone who may not be as confident in a big class setting.

“When you're by yourself, you can sometimes get out of your comfort zone, if you don't feel like you can do that in a group class because people are watching,” Sockin said. “I know I don't have a problem with that. But I know other people might have insecurities coming and doing a class at the gym. Doing it at home could be a more comforting space.”

Whether you prefer virtual or in-person classes, Brown said she is happy to provide an exercise outlet for everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It's also so nice to be able to see that people are taking my class and participating with me when everyone is kind of in this negative situation together,” Brown said. “If I can do something to help brighten up someone's day or to make them feel fantastic, then I will gladly do it.”

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