COVID pushes fitness team to explore the great outdoors

Work it: Jessica Low, left, and Ashley Christensen on Sept. 15th in southeast Calgary, outside where they teach High Fitness due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo by Maia Kowal/The Press)

COVID-19 has forced the High Fitness group to make some positive changes, and move outdoors to a safe workout environment.

High Fitness instructors Jessica Low and Ashley Christensen are currently hosting their classes outside the Southview Alliance Church in the community of Walden,  in southeast Calgary. This fall, they taught two workout classes in the field beside the church.

“Being forced to go outside with COVID has actually been a huge blessing,” said Christensen.

“It’s a great way to advertise without actually advertising, but it just never even occurred to us to go outside.”

This has been a new and improved situation for them since the start of quarantine, as they used to hold online classes. But that was not an ideal situation.

“Most of the time when you’re online with Zoom, to make the connection run smoother it was easier to have all the cameras turned off, except for mine, so that their connection was less glitchy,” said Christensen.

Despite their efforts, it was too difficult to tell how the classes were going, and how their participants were doing during the online session.

“It was really hard because you’re used to just seeing and connecting with your participants on a face-to-face level. As soon as COVID hit you were forced to stay at home, and not see their faces,” said Christensen.

Having been more in the public eye, they have obtained a higher attendance rate by word of mouth, and by being visible to the neighbourhood when working out, rather than only having to rely on their social media.

For Low, this summer has been particularly difficult, as she was living in Boston since March so that her one-year-old daughter could receive medical treatment. Her daughter was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder that if left untreated, would be lethal.

However, now that Low and her family have moved back, the duo is back together and working out as a team again.

“I’ve recommended it to so many friends and got people to come. I think it’s so fun,” said Amy Moir, an active participant in the High Fitness classes.

As participants leave the classes, all of the smiles and laughs are visible while they talk to others they know, or head back to their cars.

“It’s an outlet for people now too, with all the social distancing and staying inside. Mental stress relief for sure is to come out.   It’s a good release,” said Low.

They plan to move to an indoor facility come the winter, but since they know that they like the outdoor option, this team will be looking to host classes outside in the future when the weather is nice again.

“I much just prefer seeing people and the social interaction of it all, seeing everyone face to face and being able to socialize with people in the class beforehand,” said Moir.

Their classes are on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m. every week, drop-in classes are $5, while the first classes are free.

More information about Low and Christensen can be found on their website, social media, or through their email.

Gotta tease mom with snacks: Jessica Low and Ashley Christensen teach their High Fitness class on Sept 15th in southeast Calgary, outside due to Covid-19 restrictions. A child, at  left, snacks while waiting for his mother to finish the class. (Photo by Maia Kowal/The Press)