Exercise options available outdoors, at home
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
In a news release on April 11, the Government of Ontario extended all emergency orders that have been put into place under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act until April 23. That includes the closure of outdoor amenities in parks and recreational areas and prohibiting recreational camping on Crown Land as of April 9. “Under the emergency order, no individual can camp on Crown land, including the placement of tents or other camping structures, while the order is in effect. The government will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate if further actions are required,” a Government of Ontario news released explained.
“I understand the actions we are taking are affecting the lives and livelihoods of people across the province, but these are extraordinary times and we need to do whatever we can to keep individuals and families safe and stop the spread of this terrible virus,” said Premier Doug Ford in the news release. “We all must continue to do our part by staying home and practicing physical distancing. With the proper precautions and additional measures we're taking today, I am confident we will get through this together and stronger.”
Residents are still able to get their daily dose of exercise outdoors or in the comfort of their own home.
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout confirmed that walking trails, such as the Umfreville Trail or the trails at Cedar Bay, are still available for use, but they’re advising community members to take necessary precautions and practice social distancing measures.
“While the Provincial Government has banned the use of outdoor recreational facilities, including parks, sports facilities and playgrounds, the Municipality sought clarification and advice from the Northwestern Health Unit, and we are pleased to advise, that at this time, walking trails are excluded from the outdoor public places’ closures. It is important to note that the restrictions imposed by the Provincial Government to stem the spread of the Novel Coronavirus may change at any time (e.g., may become more restrictive or restrictions may be relaxed), so we urge members of the public to continue to monitor the directives from the Province and the advice of public health officials. Based on the latest advice, the Umfreville Trail continues to be available for use, but it is imperative that people practice social distancing when choosing to use that, or any other, trail,” said Brian MacKinnon, Sioux Lookout Municipal Clerk.
For people staying at home, the internet has been a helpful tool for providing community members with exercise ideas and the opportunity to join online workout sessions.
Manuela Michelizzi has been a certified Zumba instructor, and has been teaching in Sioux Lookout, for seven years. She said she’s been involved with dance throughout her life, and she has been utilizing this time to share dance with the region.
Michelizzi has provided interactive Zumba sessions as part of the Connected North @ Home program, allowing residents from across the region to join and participate in her sessions, along with others, digitally.
“It’s been great. We’ve had people from all over the region join in on the sessions. People are attending with their families, so we have groups of people. We’ve had little ones up to people in their 70’s joining us, so it’s been a fun family event for people. I think a lot of people are feeling isolated and a bit cooped up, so it’s fun to get some exercise in. Dancing is so fun, and I think it’s a great way from families to spend time together and also exercise a bit too,” said Michelizzi.
“Personally, dance has always been my outlet for when I’m feeling stressed out or things aren’t really going that great. It’s always been so uplifting for me so being able to share that with others has been great for my well-being, and the comments we get back in the chat while we’re doing the session are completely positive. People are having a good time, and dance is so much fun and it’s also a great workout so why not combine the two and feel a little bit better about the whole situation afterwards,” she said.
Michelizzi said additional resources are available for those who are eager to participate in additional Zumba, dance, or workout, sessions.
“There are a lot of national and international Zumba instructors that are also having sessions online, so if anyone is interested in attending a full hour session they can go to zumba.com and there will be a list of all the instructors and what times they’re having their sessions. It’s a great opportunity because you wouldn’t normally be able to attend sessions with the instructors because they’re flying all over the world presenting, so it’s been really great, even as a local instructor, to check out classes by these international instructors… I know a lot of other fitness facilities, in Thunder Bay and the surrounding area, are also posting workouts online, either on Facebook Live or Instagram. I think it’s a matter of doing a bit of research and finding something that fits well with your routine,” she said.
“I think the best thing we can do at this time is create some sense of normalcy, so creating that routine for your family and adding that physical fitness is definitely a plus,” she added.
Michelizzi said she’s hoping to provide her Zumba sessions with Connected North for as long as possible.
“We are going to keep it going as long as possible. I’m hoping that Connected North keeps Zumba classes going. It’s been great for me personally and my family has joined in as well. There’s a lot of programs that Connected North is offering, and having a movement and a dance component only adds to their portfolio of sessions. It’s important to me personally to have the arts and dance represented in that,” she said.
For more information, or to see their schedule of online sessions, visit www.connectednorth.org/athome.