Sun Devil Fitness and ASU Wellness offering virtual classes and programs

April 10, 2020

“Breathe through it, stay positive!” SDFC fitness instructor and special education and psychology junior MJ O’Gara said as she encouraged the attendees at one of her weekly virtual classes.

O’Gara continued the first block of the workout by demonstrating a variety of core and leg exercises before proceeding to do them herself so that participants could follow along.

“I’ll be right there with you the whole time!” she said.

O’Gara continued to share motivational phrases while leading a Hard Core workout on Instagram Live.

Student doing virtual yoga out by the pool on a sunny day

An SDFC student instructor doing a virtual yoga workout outside by the pool

“You're very encouraging. Thank you MJ!” commented a friendly participant at the end of the workout. O’Gara’s first live stream workout for the SDFC’s Instagram account, @livewell_asu, was complete.

Live stream workouts by SDFC student instructors are just one of the many ways the SDFC is reaching out to ASU students with virtual opportunities to engage in activities that promote health and well-being during this time of social distancing due to the outbreak of COVID-19. The SDFC is offering a series of online fitness and wellness programs geared to provide students with resources, services and opportunities to stay connected.

“If you are a student looking for the online SDFC resources or class, I would go to one of three places,” aerospace engineering senior and fitness instructor for the SDFC Adrianna Conway said. Sun Devils can find a surplus of resources on the SDFC’s Instagram account, @livewell_asu, the SDFC’s YouTube channel or the SDFC website.

Instructors film most videos and live streams from home, and they’re working to think of creative alternatives to workouts that may be difficult in smaller spaces. “We've made it so they can use whatever environment, whatever space they have to continue their workout life,” Conway said.

The SDFC Instagram account’s bio includes a link to all the current online resources for Sun Devils such as Virtual 5K signups; emotional well-being tips; at-home, pre-recorded workout videos; health presentations through Zoom; and a link to the SDFC’s YouTube channel, which features diverse at-home workouts including pilates, dance and more.

Moving workouts online has inspired fitness instructors to find new ways to connect with students. Instructors and students can connect through comments and media engagement despite being sometimes thousands of miles away.

“I think that the more that we can put online, the more we can reach out to others,” O’Gara said. “These videos are helping the ASU community by giving people resources during this crazy time.”

The community that grew around certain group wellness classes translates well online and is an important connection, said Conway.

“It's almost even more important when we are so distanced from each other when we don't have access to resources to do those classes in-person to share that time together, that there is something available for them to do,” Conway said.

SDFC staff are adapting more every day, and Assistant Director of Fitness Nicholas Deponte said that he’s proud of all the student instructors who are spreading wellness resources to help students connect and de-stress during this time of isolation.

“Instructors are super excited to be able to connect to their students and reach out to share their fitness knowledge with the ASU community,” he said.

More SDFC resources that can be found on the SDFC website include daily live group wellness classes, pre-recorded group wellness classes, daily Health Education Presentations, Ask a Nutritionist, Ask a Health Educator, and Virtual Wellness Coaching.