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Virtual workouts build a community

Kara Donbrock, Fitness and Wellness Program Manager, graduate student | Photo provided by Kara Donbrock

Kara Donbrock, Fitness and Wellness Program Manager, graduate student | Photo provided by Kara Donbrock

Kara Donbrock, program manager for fitness and wellness, has created Rec at Home, a program that shares workouts on social media. 

Learning to adjust

What started out as posting short workout videos on Instagram has turned into a virtual workout program with hundreds of views. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, WSU exercise classes and campus recreation activities were all cancelled. Donbrock didn’t want this to stop people from working out and staying active. 

“When the gym closed, that was like my worst nightmare,” said Donbrock. “I know a lot of other people were upset about that too.”

With fitness classes canceled, Donbrock found another way to share her workouts with others.

“Immediately I was like, ‘ok, we’ll do at-home workouts,’” said Donbrock. “There are so many ways to get a great workout at home. I’ve had to do it before. A lot of what I teach every day could easily be done at home.” 

Fitness is for everyone

“I just want people to stay active because health and wellness, it really helps your body,” said Donbrock. “ If we are healthy, then hopefully we can be stronger against the virus. I think it’s a good way to release any anxiety that people are feeling towards all of this.”

Donbrock emphasizes that fitness is something everyone can be a part of, a value that other fitness instructors share as well.

“I want to let people know that fitness doesn’t just belong to athletes or body builders,” said Tanvi Banerjee, yoga teacher and professor at WSU. “I have no background in physical activities as a child or a teenager, and now I love testing my body to achieve both physical and mental strength.”

Normalcy in the midst of chaos

“This has also empowered me to feel useful when we are all cloistered in our homes and may feel a little out of control,” said Banerjee. “Having online resources freely available to staff, faculty and students gives them the freedom to work out at their own convenient time or join live if they so choose.” 

Rec at Home gives people something to look forward to while stuck at home and accommodates those who still have to juggle a crazy schedule. 

Virtual workouts are here to stay

Something neither Donbrock nor Banerjee expected was the abundance of positive feedback from all of the posted videos.

“I think teaching in person would have reached a much smaller audience, so it has been humbling to have 700-800 views and several comments to the workouts,” said Banerjee. 

According to Donbrock, one of the best things about Rec at Home is the community outreach.

Engaging more people on social media is something she has wanted to do for a long time.

“That’s always been one of my biggest goals in the fitness world, to reach out and spread the word about health and wellness to as many people as I could,” said Donbrock. “I definitely think that this is something that needed to happen.”

Even though she wishes Rec at Home could happen under different circumstances, Donbrock is grateful for the time to be creative.

She plans to continue posting workouts even after quarantine is over. 

“Please take the time to work out! Life can feel out of control sometimes and all we can do is focus on the present,” said Banerjee. “If you feel stressed out with the sudden change due to online courses and social isolation, please remember you are not alone. Take a deep breath and do a little at a time. Or, even better, go for a run and do some yoga!”

Makenzie Hoeferlin

Editor-in Chief