Seniors take part in Stacie Weinberger’s outdoor fitness class in a Sardis parking lot on Friday, May 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Chilliwack fitness instructor caters to senior students, moves classes outside, makes them free

Stacie Weinberger knew online cardio workouts weren’t the answer for her older adult students

A group of seniors who hadn’t worked out together in nearly two months got the opportunity to do just that, thanks to their kind-hearted fitness instructor.

Last week, Stacie Weinberger moved her LifeFit class outside in an attempt to help keep her senior participants active and she’s doing it at no cost to her dedicated students.

“My motivation to do this was not a money thing,” Weinberger said. “I missed these guys. We have built a connection where we actually share our ups and our downs.”

Like all other fitness programs, Weinberger’s well-attended LifeFit class at the Cheam Leisure Centre came to a halt in March due to COVID-19. Now, she has relocated it to the parking lot of Sardis Sports Complex where there’s ample room for her and her students to exercise.

Since last week, she’s been offering her 45-minute class outside every weekday depending on the weather. She’s capped each class at a maximum of five people.

Before the pandemic, LifeFit which is a cardio class geared towards older adults, would typically take place twice a week with about 30 to 50 people taking part each session. When recreation centres closed down, she sent out an email to her students about her new outdoor class to see how many would be interested.

“I thought that I’d probably be doing the same five people three times a week,” she said.

Her guess was way off. Nearly 30 people wanted in.

“I’ve got so many responses that I can’t even fit them all in one week. I’ve got a cancellation list now.”

And while many fitness classes moved online, Weinberger knew that because of the age of her students, online exercise videos were not ideal. Many don’t use social media, so doing something like a live Instagram video was out of the question.

RELATED: Exercises move online with YMCA’s new nationwide virtual workout program

The logical answer was to get moving outside.

“The social connection is as important as the physical fitness component of it,” Weinberger said. “They’re so good that they could probably do this class without me even being there… but there is something about that energy that comes along with working together.”

On Friday last week, five active seniors lunged, power walked, and jumping jacked together, all a safe distance apart from each other.

It was the first time any of them had done a workout since the middle of March. The only exercise they’d been getting before the outdoor classes had been in the form of walking.

But thanks to Weinberger’s caring gesture to help keep her students healthy without asking for anything in return, those Chilliwack seniors are now able to do a lot more than simply walk to get their heart rates up all while seeing some familiar faces.

“When everybody leaves, you’re lighter than when you came, and that happens for me too,” Weinberger said. “That’s where my heart is. My heart is with these guys.”

READ MORE: All your local, regional and national COVID-19 coverage in one place


 

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Seniors take part in Stacie Weinberger’s outdoor fitness class in a Sardis parking lot on Friday, May 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Seniors take part in Stacie Weinberger’s outdoor fitness class in a Sardis parking lot on Friday, May 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Seniors take part in Stacie Weinberger’s outdoor fitness class in a Sardis parking lot on Friday, May 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Seniors take part in Stacie Weinberger’s outdoor fitness class in a Sardis parking lot on Friday, May 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

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