Lethbridge fitness studio offers rent-a-bike program during COVID-19 restrictions



a person sitting in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Kelleen Tait follows along with a virtual spin class at UNITE YQL during Alberta's second wave of COVID-19.


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Kelleen Tait follows along with a virtual spin class at UNITE YQL during Alberta’s second wave of COVID-19.

Kelleen Tait relies on her weekly workout sessions to keep grounded and manage her stress.

“During the first lockdown, I didn’t know what to do.”

With new Alberta gym capacity restrictions in place, she’s found a way to keep moving: a rent-a-bike program and virtual spin classes from local studio UNITE YQL.

Read more: Alberta enacts 2nd COVID-19 state of public health emergency. Here’s what it means

“It’s way harder than I would work out on my own and it really keeps me going,” Tait said.

For her, it’s not just about getting a sweat in. She says it allows her to still feel connected with instructors and a community she loves.

“As we’re all kind of shutting our doors and going into a bit more of an isolation mode, being able to generate that community is such a wonderful thing to be a part of and to support,” Tait said. “Especially when it’s [a local business] and it’s right in our downtown core.”

Owner of UNITE YQL, Vanessa Bishop, said it’s been a lifeline for her business and the supportive community they’ve worked to build over the last few years.

“The virtual program has allowed us to keep moving even though our physical space is temporarily closed.”

Although the decision to rent out expensive equipment was difficult, Bishop says it’s brought the studio’s high-energy barre and spin classes directly into clients’ homes. 

“[We can keep] giving hollers and encouraging the riders, because that’s the whole experience with us… It’s a fun atmosphere.”

Read more: Some businesses feel singled out as Alberta brings in stricter COVID-19 measures

The Lethbridge YMCA will also be offering virtual classes for members starting next week.

“There’s going to be fitness classes, yoga classes, wellness classes and all sorts of other items that will serve our community the best possible,” YMCA of Lethbridge Interim General Manager Scott Boyd said.

“We realize that everyone is dealing with this in all different ways.”

Boyd said a new gym space is now open on the facility’s main floor for those looking to move around safely.

Read more: Lethbridge gyms consider what reopening could look like

Tait says she plans to continue riding out the pandemic while supporting local business.

“I’m actually moving and I keep motivated,” she said. “It’s been great from a mental health aspect.”

She encourages others who might be interested in upping their at-home workouts to give it a spin.

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