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Online wellness communities get stronger amid COVID-19

Francine M. Marquez



Keep fitness fun and inspiring by exercising as a team. Inset: Coach Sarah Jane Lim-Narvasa of Pretty Huge Obstacle answers queries from viewers. photograph courtesy of fb/prettyhugeobstacles


“Let’s go guys!” the energetic voice of fitness coach Sarah Jane Lim-Narvasa of Pretty Huge Obstacles (PHO) instructs her students. Behind her, a bunch of guys who call themselves as Quaran Team try to keep up with her jumping jacks, high knee jogs and other cardio movements. While everyone is sweating and as coach Sarah announces the end of the warm-up, someone comments, “Warm-up pa lang yun?” and laughter follows from most of the participants. This isn’t your usual fat burning class, of course, as the extended community quarantine has become more rigorous now especially with the continuing rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide. Laughter emojis were shared onscreen as the fitness battleground isn’t in the hardcore obstacle course gym but in the houses of students were everyone will have to stay put till the government eases its quarantine rule next month.

According to coach Iris Torculas of PHO, “What inspired us to organize FB live workouts is because we want people to be safe and to just stay home during this period. But at the same time, we want them to stay in shape and continue living a healthy lifestyle while they are quarantined at home. All the more with what we’re facing right now. At least they can workout with their family and kids.”

At the same time, she adds that getting fit is a matter of balancing exercises with eating well. And for parents, to involve their children in exercising as well: “Staying fit doesn’t mean just working out. Nutrition and exercise goes hand in hand if you want to be fit. Some of the activities I usually suggest to my students with young children are: 1. Bake and cook healthy foods with your kids.

For sure, they’ll be excited to eat it even if it’s veggies because they were part of the preparation; 2. Make workout fun for the kids; and 3. Make your own workouts fun for the kids as well. For example, I place them as weights on my shoulders to do squats, etc. So, it’s bonding time with your family while keeping yourself healthy.”

Fitness coach Ted Siquian conducts an online workout session with his motivated clients. Photograph courtesy of fb/@tedsiquian

Freelance coaches like Ted Siquian are also encouraging their clients to continue their program at home. He has been holding online sessions with his clients to make sure their gains are still well played.

Coach Ted shares: “Online workouts with my motivated clients has been effective. At first they were hesitant on trying it online but soon as they were working out, I think they realized how important it is to still move and sweat it out during the lockdown and keep their fitness goals intact.”

He adds that there are a lot of routines that actually do not need any equipment except one’s body weight. One can also be inventive by using familiar household items at home. He assures, “Never worry about the lack of workout equipment. As Filipinos we are innovative and creative in different ways. You can utilize materials at home such as chairs, water bottles (liter/gallon), travel bag, and whatever you can use for additional weight/resistance. I would also suggest to have some workout buddies online to keep you motivated.”

Coach Ted, who also owns a healthy meal delivery service called Healthy Juan (HealthyJuanMeals on Facebook) says that there are other illnesses one must guard against while staying at home.

“One of these is obesity. A lot of people are working from home, many are on eating spree, while some are having a hard time to find ways on getting their meals such as health workers. I suggest that we still eat healthy and to avoid going out on public places such as markets, you can just simply order healthy food online. Healthy Juan Meals is still available for deliveries. We cater the caloric needs of a person at the same time it is healthy and convenient in this time of crisis.

Other wellness groups the like the Medicale Yoga Institute is also set to hold a yin yoga and meditation session online on 21 March, Saturday, at 11:11 a.m. Teacher JC de Leon, says that both practices could help settle the mind especially during uncertain and troubled times like these. He shares: “Yin Yoga and meditation grounds and destresses us from these trying times. Plus, we also need to move and meditate to increase our immune system.”

Skyhigh Fitness Gym a variety of exercises per day.photograph courtesy of fb/skyhighgym

Other gyms like Sky High Fitness (Skyhigh Gym on Facebook) in Marikina City has been giving home workouts along with videos where its coaches demonstrate the movements.

Bigger fitness places like Gold’s Gym offers on-demand and live video workouts for Bodyweight, Movements, HIIT, Core Strength, Fit Over 50 and Strong at Home ranging from easy ten-minute routines up to 30 minutes. Anytime Fitness’ app gives access to over 1,100 workout plans and progress trackers at home. Fitness tips, healthy recipes and ways to boost immune systems are also available via their social media sites.


With all these free workouts online, it’s now a matter of mind over matter when it comes to challenging oneself to stay healthy, fit and conditioned in the comforts of one’s home.

Breath, just do it at an online meditation practice.
photograph courtesy of fb/medicaleyogainstitute

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