OPINION: Zoom fitness classes, another new normal, and leaving your inhibitions at the door

A view of life in Donegal through the coronavirus crisis by journalist Siobhán McNamara


New kinds of fitness classes during lockdown

I took part in my first Zoom exercise class this week and it was a lot less weird that I had expected.

Some people have been doing this quite comfortably since lockdown began. I think my own reservations were rooted in a certain self-consciousness and in body image issues that I thought I had already overcome. The idea of being on a screen with all my insecurities exposed felt too daunting.  

But the prospect of a class designed especially for dragon boaters and delivered by a world renowned dragon boat coach was too good to pass up. This was not only because of the dragon boat connection and knowing that my clubmates who I miss a lot would be taking part. It was also because I knew there would be a strong focus on shoulder and back stretches and exercises which I really need these days.

Even though I have an exercise routine that includes stretching, I am clearly missing my PT sessions and dragon boat paddling time. I say clearly because my whole body is screaming it. My posture has changed for the worse and I regularly find myself having to push my shoulders back and straighten myself up as I seem to slump more and more towards the laptop keyboard.

The class was fantastic, especially as it followed an interview I did the day before where I was the guest on the coach’s Dragon Boat Shanties series which goes out each Monday on YouTube. Having discussed how dragon boating worked for a lot of different body types, ages and fitness levels, my head was in the right place to move forward, leaving my own inhibitions behind.

I felt comfortable following the class, having turned off the video button after the initial introductions. It was nice to be guided through a routine where I could see and feel the benefit of every single exercise, and was also thinking of how they would benefit our team once we were back in the boat. 

Like so much else these days, something we can’t imagine ourselves doing suddenly feels completely normal. I am already looking forward to the next session. It will keep me going until that much anticipated day when we are back in the boat, paddling out on the bay, reaching forward to new beginnings and new journeys.

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