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COVID-19: Why online workouts are a great option!

April 24, 2020 13:23 IST

Since you can't step out, virtual sessions held by fitness experts have come to the rescue.
Namrata Kohli reports.

*Photograph: Kind courtesy Krishna Shroff/Instagram

The lockdown is not a moratorium on exercising.

One can resort to any number of apps, trainers and websites who are offering virtual fitness classes.

Instagram is abuzz with workout videos by Bollywood celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Jacqueline Fernandez and Shilpa Shetty Kundra.

Recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi also shared a 3D animated video of him doing yoga.


Start doing Pilates

This is the time to make the maximum out of minimal resources.

Fitness is no exception.

"All you need is a mat and your own body. That's it," says celebrity Pilates expert Namrata Purohit.

Pilates can be done anytime and anywhere -- especially the basic exercises such as hip rolls, ab preps, obliques and side leg raises.

She says she has been taking a lot of Pilates classes online.

Take up Zumba

While this fitness routine is usually performed in groups, currently it too has gone virtual.

Sucheta Pal, who brought Zumba Fitness LLC to India, talks about an all-new virtual Zumba teaching tool that has been launched for licensed instructors.

Says Pal: "ZIN Studio is designed to help our instructors easily stream classes, schedule in advance and collect payments."

Instructors are using Zoom, Dacast and Google Meet to conduct closed classes for their students, which are priced at approximately Rs 300-500 per session.

"We are seeing a very good response during this time when everyone is holed up and wants to simply move," says Pal.

Dance-based fitness programmes are a bit tougher to follow virtually, as you may end up missing the beat.

Nonetheless, South Delhi-based personal trainer Dharmender Singh is giving personal training to his clients through Zoom.

He charges Rs 1,000-2,000 per session that lasts 50 minutes.

Online classes enable him to save on commute time too.

Easy access

*Photograph: Kind courtesy Shweta Mehta/Instagram

Most of these live classes can be accessed on mobile devices and laptops.

One can also stream the session on a computer and then mirror it on a TV screen.

All one needs is a good internet connection and a charged phone.

On some apps, such as, you can even get real-time feedback on your workout.

This is a group fitness class led by a trainer that is streamed through the app.

A Cult spokesperson says: "Our energy meter feature will help track your efforts during the workout with simple camera access. You can even get a detailed report of your workout in terms of total workout duration, your effort report, energy score and your rank in the class."

Currently, Cult is offering live classes across fitness formats like strength, cardio, HRX, srength and conditioning (S&C), dance fitness and yoga on all seven days of the week.

Inculcating healthy habits

*Photograph: Courtesy Sweaty Swetha/Instagram

Many technology-based health fitness companies are launching initiatives to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle at home.

HealthifyMe has launched free immunity assessment tests, diet consultations and home workouts.

It hosts daily live fitness sessions by premium coaches within the app, available to all users for free.

Says Tushar Vashisht, chief executive officer, HealthifyMe: "We want people to use the lockdown to build healthier habits and improve immunity. So we have launched the biggest ever upgrade to our app with several new features centred around eating balanced diets, exercising at home, sanitising hands and sleeping better."

And for children

There are exercise apps for children as well.

According to Sujit Panigrahi, CEO at Sequoia Fitness and Sports Technology and founder of Fitness 365, "We are trying to engage school students to do freehand exercises, yoga, skipping, weight training and rope skipping."

Currently, his company is working with Fit India to create modules of virtual workouts for school students.

These will be streamed to CBSE board students once online classes start.

The flip side

Not everyone, however, finds virtual to be the best format.

Delhi-based marathon runner Sivaleela Yaragorla says she feels alive when she runs.

She concedes that the live sessions have a well-structured workout schedule of 50 minutes, of which 13 minutes are devoted to warming up, 25 minutes to the main workout, five minutes to core exercises and seven minutes to cooling down.

However, she says: "The energy of a real class can simply not be replicated online. Besides, the instructor cannot correct you. And it takes a lot of self-discipline and motivation, besides punctuality, to do this well."

But then, in times like these, one has to make do with what is available and online seems the best way to go.

*Images used for representational purposes only.

Namrata Kohli
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