BY HANNAH COHEN and HANNAH SCHAUDER
Monash Sport has introduced an Active Bodies initiative to help students get fit from home, by broadcasting live workouts online and providing health and wellbeing tips.
The trend is on the rise, with many fitness-focused business people already offering free live workouts for their followers to participate in during isolation.
Using Facebook and Instagram as platforms to broadcast workouts, popular fitness programs such as 28 by Sam Wood and Keep it Cleaner by Stephanie Smith and Laura Henshaw have encouraged hundreds of people to get active at home.
Following the mandatory closure of university campus gyms, Monash Sport has followed suit by providing round-the-clock exercise classes online.
Monash Sport engagement manager Dale Cridland said the organisation wanted to provide a positive fitness experience for Monash students, staff and the wider community to help combat this uncertain time.
“Unfortunately, self-isolation reduces the number of opportunities to be physically active. We need exercise to help keep us moving, thinking and doing,” Ms Cridland said.
“By supporting students in fitness, health and wellbeing we are supporting their educational journey and university experience.”
The initiative offers a variety of health and wellbeing tips, live Instagram stories, demonstrations, and daily workout sessions broadcast on Zoom and accessible via their website.
Fresh content is also posted regularly on the Monash Sport Facebook and Instagram pages to provide support for the whole community.
So far the program has been received positively, with more than 7000 views of recorded Facebook classes and an average of 50 students participating in each Zoom session.
Psychologist Shanty Lourie said with all campus-based activities suspended and classes being conducted online, maintaining physical activity is “very important” for students’ health.
“Exercise releases endorphins and a whole lot of other neurotransmitters that helps to improve your immune system and alleviate stress. It’s good for your physical health as well as helping to improve your sleep, your ability to think and problem solve,” she said.
Ms Lourie said keeping up with a regular exercise routine during social isolation can also assist with motivation and study productivity.
“When it comes to studying, exercise can help you think critically, help you to feel creative and helps you focus as well,” she said.
“By exercising, we have a little more motivation and a more ability to do everyday jobs you need to do and studying could definitely be one of them.”
Recognising that social distancing can take a toll on students' mental health, Ms Lourie said exercise can be very beneficial for those suffering with heightened and depressive and anxiety symptoms during this time.
“Exercise is really good for people experiencing other mental health problems like anxiety or depression,” she said.
“We only need to have 15 to 20 minutes of exercise a day in order for us to start to feel some of the benefits of it and we can usually start to feel the benefits after the first 5-7 minutes.”
Monash Sport director Brett Lavale said by encouraging the Monash community to stay healthy in isolation will help to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
‘We encourage all members of our community to keep exercising at home and we will provide a range of resources on our website to enable this,’ he said.