’Gate Recreation and Shaw Wellness Institute Hold Virtual Wellness Challenge

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Colgate Department of Recreation

Sara Fraser, Maroon-News Staff

The Department of Recreation has officially made the switch to online workout classes featuring options like Barre, Zumba, Shred and Cardio Blast. In addition to on-demand workouts, the Department of Recreation and Shaw Wellness Institute are holding a Virtual Wellness Challenge to motivate students and faculty to work out and practice self-care at home. 

‘Gate Recreation’s annual wellness challenge, along with their various weekly fitness classes, moved to a virtual format in order to help students fulfill their outstanding PE requirements, provide more options for working out at home and add increased opportunities for students already participating in Shaw’s “eight dimensions of wellness” initiative. 

Coordinated by Shaw Wellness Center and the Department of Recreation, the ‘Gate Wellness Challenge offers ideas for members of the Colgate community to engage in activities to help their overall wellbeing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The wellness activities list features a diverse range of activities with aims to promote physical, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, environmental and emotional wellness.

Each of the activities is focused on simple actions to improve life in quarantine, centering around self-care, trying new things and developing a mindful routine. Examples from the activities list include journaling, calling a friend, starting a new book, volunteering or cleaning a workspace. 

Sophomore Wyman Huang, a student ambassador at Shaw participating in the challenge, said her favorite activity of the challenge is practicing occupational wellness. Since many of her planned internships were canceled due to COVID-19, Huang wanted to focus on the occupational portion of the challenge the most.  

“I needed to kickstart my career so I applied to more internships, wrote cover letters, and researched more companies to reach out to,” Huang said. 

Other suggested activities include touring a virtual museum, preparing a meatless meal, setting up a savings account or talking to someone with a different set of religious beliefs.

“[I] thought it would be fun to do something that would get my mind off of this lockdown and try things that are wellness-related while still being involved within the Colgate community,” sophomore Adrianna Kartanadi said.

After completing an activity, participants submit an activity tracker form, which is tallied at the end of each week during a period from April 17 to May 8, and the winners are announced on the ‘Gate Recreation and Shaw Wellness social media pages.

Most participants admit that their normal workout routines have suffered during quarantine with less motivation, more stress and a lack of dynamic group workouts, including ALANA Office Manager Carly Dougher, who said her workout routine has changed a lot during quarantine and through the challenge.

Normally I stick to one or two forms of exercise, but with all of the virtual options offered through the Wellness Challenge, I am able to change my workouts daily and have fun with that,” Dougher said.  

Sophomore Mayzie Potton, currently training for a 10 mile run with a friend, said she uses the virtual workouts to make her routine more interesting. 

“Outside of just jogging, we have been using Colgate’s videos, a lot of YouTube yoga channels and bike riding. It has been a really fun way to stay healthy, both physically and mentally,” Potton said. 

In addition to the Wellness Challenge, students and faculty can now access on-demand classes like Zumba, Yoga, Barre, Shred, Bootcamp and Boxing from the Recreation and Wellness Website. Additionally,  live fitness classes open to the community take place each week, with information and registration on the Virtual Recreation page of the University website. 

Assistant Director of Recreation for Facilities and Membership Services Eli Barrett instructs workout classes and previously coordinated the Wellness Challenge virtual 5k. He said he feels joy when students come back for a class every week. 

“I personally love the weekly connection and community that is built with the virtual classes and I know students are appreciating it as well. Virtual classes are also a great way for instructors to share updates and a great way for students to share concerns,” Barrett said. 

The instructed pre-recorded workout classes enable participants to take classes at any time and place they would like, allowing for more involvement and overcoming the barrier or nervousness behind trying a new class, according to Barrett. 

“Although all of Colgate’s instructors offer several breaks, encourage modifications and people do the work out at their own pace, virtual classes go one step further and allow participants to feel less judgment,” Barrett said. “I think virtual classes are a great way for us all to feel a sense of community in a time of isolation.”