Aztec Recreation goes virtual with health, fitness classes amid lockdown

Members and non-members now have access to a variety of virtual options through the Aztec Recreation website and YouTube channel.

The ARC Express at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union

File Photo

The ARC Express is one of two Aztec Recreation Center locations on campus that is closed following the COVID-19 pandemic.

by Jadyn Brandt, Senior Staff Writer

For San Diego State students and staff who are stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, Aztec Recreation is working to provide the community with accessible ways to stay mentally and physically healthy. 

Although Aztec Recreation Center members can no longer attend in-person fitness classes, members and non-members alike still have a variety of virtual options to choose from. Some fitness classes are taught live through links on the Aztec Recreation website, while others are pre-recorded and posted to the Aztec Recreation YouTube channel. 

Across campus, teachers and staff have had to modify the way they operate to adhere to the guidelines from both the university and state and federal governments. Things are no different for Aztec Recreation, but Marketing Coordinator Amy Schiller said she is still optimistic. 

“The challenges for us mirror what all of SDSU is experiencing,” she said. “Everyone is reinventing their skills, and it’s challenging but very rewarding.”

Aztec Recreation fitness instructors are adapting and modifying their classes to the home environment by using objects like tables, chairs or even couches in their workouts, according to Aztec Recreation Fitness and Wellness Coordinator Cali Tolbert.  

“Instructors have modified their classes by focusing on body-weight workouts or providing alternative options for participants to use such as a backpack filled with textbooks,” Tolbert said.

Exercise, physiology and nutritional sciences graduate student and Fitness and Wellness Program Assistant Cameron Vinoskey said the biggest challenge so far has been the lack of an in-person group dynamic, but Aztec Recreation is finding ways to make up for it.

“Everyone is missing the camaraderie of group fitness,” he said. “But with the live classes we have started hosting weekly and outreach through Instagram and YouTube, students are able to see their instructors and communicate with each other.”

According to Schiller, virtual fitness programming is expected to extend throughout the entire spring 2020 semester, with options that will include more than just fitness classes.

“We want to encourage students to stay tuned for a wide variety of classes, virtual conversations and instruction,” she said. “Across all of Associated Students, our programs include everything from cooking videos to yoga workouts.”

Schiller said she felt it was important to continue hosting online classes because of the many positive impacts of fitness that extend past physical benefits.

“Student well-being is what we do,” Schiller said. “SDSU students who participate in recreation activities indicate it reduces stress and contributes to a sense of well-being and belonging.”

Tolbert added that Aztec Recreation is about more than just fitness. She said Aztec Recreation hopes to aid SDSU students in a variety of ways through their Eight Dimensions of Wellness model and collaboration with Live Well Aztecs.

“We want to let our community and students know that we are here for them now and will continue to be here for them once this passes,” Tolbert said. “Most people immediately think of the exercise component when they hear the word ‘wellness,’ but two important dimensions during this time are the social and emotional components. We want to continue hosting classes such as yoga to decrease anxiety and stress, as well as cultivate healthy relationships with those who may be feeling isolated.”

Schiller said students can expect to see more wellness-based content online and on Aztec Recreation’s social media in the coming weeks, including live and pre-recorded workouts, esports leagues, challenges, outdoor adventure, wellness tips and student recognition. 

For access to content from Aztec Recreation, follow @aztecrecfitness, @aztec_recreation and @aztecadventures on Instagram or visit the ARC website and YouTube channel.