UMass offers virtual fitness classes during the remote semester

Campus Recreation will not only be offering fitness and nutrition classes, but E-Sports as well.


Kago Motsoma

By Alex Genovese, Collegian contributor

With the first semester underway, many students are seeking a calm atmosphere amid the chaos of virtual learning.

“Exercise helps destress,” said Jill Isabelle, the assistant director for group fitness at the University of Massachusetts Recreation Center. “The more active we are the more flexible and adaptable we are.”

Many students flock to the Recreation Center during a normal school year to remain healthy. A popular program, Sunset Yoga, attracted around 250 people last semester, according to Isabelle.

In order to maintain the campus’ safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has decided not to open their recreation facilities. Campus Recreation states on their website: “Recreation facilities, including the Recreation Center and pools, are currently closed. Campus Recreation will continue to offer remote programs such as live and on-demand group fitness classes, online gaming competitions and special events.”

Additionally, students use the recreation center and their programs to meet people outside of the hustle and bustle of academics.

“The goal is to make connections,” Isabelle said.

“All instructors have been asking if there are any first-year students at the beginning of class and making sure they feel safe, welcome and comfortable asking any questions,as instructors, we are all upperclassmen and can be great resources.” said Isabel Aluia, a junior kinesiology and biology double major. “Social media has also been a really important and effective way to reach out to first-year students.”

“The returning students likely know who we are as Campus Rec and know the level of community that we strive for, so with the first-years it’s definitely important to show them that so much of our goal is to bring people together,” said Carlie Mannai, a group fitness program assistant for UMass Campus Recreation.

Mannai also echoed Isabelle’s sentiment toward staying active during virtual learning.

“It’s so important for people to try to maintain some sense of normalcy as we continue mostly remote learning, and for a lot of people staying active plays a big role in creating a routine that serves both their mental and physical wellbeing,” said Mannai.

The Recreation Center’s website lists “Live Online Group Fitness,” including classes such as “Virtual Zumba,” “Virtual Boot Camp” and “Virtual Spin Classes.” They will also be offering nutrition advising and recipes of the week.

“We are running around five to seven classes every Monday through Friday,” said Isabelle. “We will be running less classes on weekends, one on Saturdays and two on Sundays.”

Campus Recreation will not only be offering fitness and nutrition classes, but E-Sports as well. These programs include popular video games such as Rocket League, FIFA and Madden. Additionally, they are offering special events such as trivia, bingo and other games.

“I do plan on attending a few of the sessions as long as they do not coincide with my class schedule,” said Karishma Manchanda, a first-year computer science major. “Working out/intramural sports can definitely provide freshmen with a way of meeting new people/making new friends because they find a commonality in the activity! It is a wonderful way to make friends when there are no common classes.”

Alex Genovese is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @alex_genovese1.