To limit the spread of COVID-19, on March 17, the Alberta government prohibited Albertans from attending gyms, swimming pools, community centres, and art galleries etc.
Most Slave Lake gyms and fitness classes had already closed. However, many of them offer virtual classes.
Jaymee Tanasiuk has taught Zumba, an aerobic form of contemporary dance, in Slave Lake for 11 years.
“I need to do it (teach Zumba),” she says, “because it’s really fun.”
Tanasiuk’s first virtual Zumba class on Zoom was in the beginning of April.
There were eight participants, mostly the regular dancers, but there was also a lady from Spruce Grove.
The class is scheduled around the group’s availability.
Bobbi Jo Goodwin Fitness’ new schedule also varies. Goodwin sends out the next week’s schedule on Sunday to the Facebook group.
Virtual classes are “a good alternative”, she says. The transition was “a lot smoother than, I thought it would be.”
Goodwin’s main rule is that everyone has to smile the whole time. As her classes are a variety of weight training, cardio, or kick boxing, she has to remind her participants of this many times during the workout.
AB Taekwondo is one of two Taekwondo studios in Slave Lake. Both it and Northern Spirit Taekwondo are physically closed.
The most recent word from Northern Spirit is it’s post on Facebook on March 15 that it is closed, with belt testing postponed.
AB Taekwondo is offering YouTube video training and live one-on-one virtual classes.
Speaking of their members, co-owner Ava Briones says, “they really love to see us, even online.”
Briones is learning new technical skills editing the YouTube videos.
“It was a big adjustment,” she says.
The Taekwondo YouTube videos are free for the whole community. Some other businesses are also offering their online content free or at a reduced rate.
Robbie Coté runs CrossFit Slave Lake. He’s lent out most of his equipment – weightlifting, rowing and other workout equipment to Crossfit members.
He’s also offering a Zoom workout twice a day. This includes a five week – Quarantine Throw Down challenge, for participants.
The numbers are down quite a bit, he says. Crossfit had a lot of kids and it is hard to get them “wrangled” over computer. The core adult membership is still working out together though.
Lori Witby owns Slave Lake Yoga (aka. Smiling Dog Yoga). She and her teachers are offering most of the classes they were before, just virtually.
She’s lowered the drop-in price during COVID-19 and yoga passes are still valid.
The online classes “allow the us to keep community,” she says.
Tasha Albert is on the board of the Slave Lake gymnastics groups and is the Town of Slave Lake’s community relations manager.
Gymnastics is new to Slave Lake, Albert says. It’s a nonprofit with around 200 gymnasts ranging in age from 18 months to 50 years. The first classes were last October. It was only running for five-and-a-half weeks, before it had to shut down, part-way through a session.
Gymnastics is completely shut down. Not offering any virtual classes, but is working towards having enough money to pay the rent and other fixed expenses if they need to remain closed for six months.
The closure hopefully won’t be that long, but even once it reopens there are five weeks’ worth of classes to be taught before any new income comes in.
Gymnastics “has tremendous community backing,” says Albert. In the short time it was open, the board was able to save some. With the current donations and future donations, the board strongly believes it will be able to raise the money.
Like most other fitness groups and organizations, the Town of Slave Lake has gone virtual.
Pre-COVID-19, the town offered badminton, pickle ball, soccer, skating, a power walking class etc. It had recently added kettle bells, a rowing machine, and other work out equipment to the walking track in the Multi Rec Centre.
The town is “trying to engage the community online,” Albert says. This includes local residents doing YouTube videos to teach a skill. As health includes mind, body, and spirit, these activities range from crafts to meditation, high impact cardio to baking, and many other things.
Another thing the town is encouraging people to do is write down their experiences living during the pandemic.
“We’re all living history, right now,” Albert says.
The activities are posted on the town’s Facebook page daily. There’s been a lot of positive feedback.
The posts get around 700 to 1,500 views. Many people have told Albert and others involved, that “they look forward to having something to do each day.”