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Short Classes, Huge Impact
How a UMD fitness instructor is engaging and growing her audience during a time when people are most in need of endorphins.
What started as a way for the UMD community to stay healthy during the COVID-19 quarantine has grown.
Trista Vucetich Anderson, Recreational Sports and Outdoor Program’s fitness and wellness coordinator, would lead an average of 30 participants during her in-person classes. Since the University of Minnesota closed its campuses in mid-March, up to 250 people are now streaming Anderson’s workouts into their homes.
The classes are posted on the UMD Fitness Team’s Instagram page as 15-minute bursts, which Anderson calls “pockets of sunshine,” so they’re easy to fit in throughout the day. “Some people are busier at home now than they have ever been,” she points out.
The audience is evolving from current participants of UMD’s fitness programs to include "friends of friends"– both in the Duluth community and beyond. “A friend of mine, and UMD alum Jenna Bergman, was doing one of the workouts in Germany and that evening, she went into labor,” says Anderson. “Her husband Wade joked I helped induce her labor.”
Anderson acknowledges that there are a lot of online workout options, but her participants appreciate having credible instructors motivating them– which is especially important right now. “Physical activity keeps so many things in check: our stress, our sleep, our blood pressure, our metabolism… the list goes on.” Anderson says most people feel genuine happiness from physical movement, and when they’re happier, the people around them are happier. “It's really quite contagious. We might not be able to leave our house, but our bodies don't know that. Our muscles still crave to be moved.”
Anderson adds it doesn’t have to be complicated, and offers a few tips for success:
Do what you love. If you find something you enjoy, you are more likely to stick with it.
It doesn’t have to be serious. My son and I find dance videos, and we giggle and smile and laugh. It's ok to laugh at ourselves.
Lead the way. Take it upon yourself to be a good role model for your roommates, your kids, your spouse, and invite them to join you. Take a yoga mat out to your yard. Do some incline push-ups off your front steps. Be creative.
Burst when you can. Try doing bursts of movement throughout the day. It doesn't have to be an hour workout every morning. Maybe it's a 15-minute video here, a 30-minute walk there, a little yoga in the evening. My best fitness advice is that the best way to get IN shape is to never be OUT of shape. In other words, keep going. Don't use this quarantine as an excuse to slide out of shape if you have been active. And if you haven't been active, ease into it slowly and you'll find your groove.