Arts & Entertainment

The University Y offers online activities to keep you busy while stuck at home

The stay at home orders have been extended for yet another month and possibly longer. Given the inability to visit friends or attend social gatherings it seems as if it’s becoming harder to stay occupied and prevent a breakdown resulting from the stir-craziness. With this being said, with more time on people’s hands there has been a rise in physical activity during quarantine. It’s been proven that exercise can help reduce stress, lessen anxiety, improve sleep and boost the immune system and yet, with gyms being closed it can be hard to meet your exercise needs in a way besides running and walking around your neighborhood.

Thankfully, the University Y Student Center has decided to take their efforts online to offer virtual programs for a diverse array of classes. From cycling and weight lifting to yoga and dance fitness, anyone with a phone, computer or Smart TV can participate whether they have equipment at home or not.


If you’re looking for something on the meditative side yoga can be a great option for you, and no equipment is required as long as you have a soft-enough floor or base to workout on. Currently, the YMCA offers 12 adult classes ranging from about 11 to 35 minutes. Some of these classes include breathing techniques and beginners classes, but they also offer niche classes, such as those that gear toward all-sitting or all-standing movements and even contain practices related to soothing back pain. Moreover, if you want something a bit more intensive, they also have a few power-yoga classes available.


Similar to yoga but a bit more vigorous, pilates provides exercises that focus primarily on the utilization of movements and strength regarding body resistance — meaning no additional weights are required. These classes are a good option for individuals who want to work on strength and increasing flexibility with low impact movements. There are currently two full-length classes, 17 and 22 minutes, along with a short tutorial to get you started.


If you’re looking for something a bit more intense than the former, then barre classes — inspired by techniques utilized in traditional ballet combined with elements of pilates — will give you workouts with low impact but high-intensity movements. Currently offering four classes in this realm ranging from 14 to 25 minutes, these can easily be completed with little to no materials you probably have at home. With one class focusing on movements in relation to a chair or stool, another with a bar, and two more with small weights, these are short classes that can help you break a sweat any time of day.


If you’ve never liked nor enjoyed traditional forms of gym exercise involving routines and weights, then dance could be a fun and exciting way to get your body moving. The Y offers five classes in total — two being short warm-up videos — and they focus on either Latin dancing or Hip Hop. The Latin classes are primarily for beginners, but regardless of experience anyone is able to partake in the fun.


A workout for the total body coupled with elements of self-defense, boxing is a fun and exciting exercise that can easily be done from home. Classified as YBox, the Y currently has 15 videos that focus on punching, elbow strikes, footwork, and endurance that cater to all audiences from beginners to advanced. There are two kickboxing videos offered that require no additional materials, but if you’re more on the advanced spectrum the Y also provides videos for training with bag techniques.


These videos are available for individuals who have bars at home — squat bar, deadlift bar, bench press bar, etc. Once these materials are acquired, the page provides short tutorials for correctly enacting a split lift, bench press, sumo deadlift, conventional deadlift, split jerk, how to hang clean and how to squat clean. Even though each video is short and only covers the basics, each individual can decide how to incorporate these into a personalized routine.  


Another option that requires materials at home is cycling. If you have a bicycle, great! You can go and ride around your neighborhood, but these classes in particular are for those who own a stationary bike. With four videos, one being a tutorial for setting up the bike, the Y offers some fundamental routines and intervals to get you started.


With the lengthiest collection on the site, honing in on 17 videos, the Bootcamp series focuses on high-intensity circuit training that will definitely get you sweating and working hard. While they have beginner classes for those who haven’t worked with interval training ever or often, they also have material that can apply to you if you’re more advanced. Some of these workouts provide exercises that focus on using bodyweight as resistance and endurance-based training, but others also include hand weights to focus on more strength. Bootcamp offers high variety and intensive movements, so if you’re looking for a taxing workout to leave you worn out, these could be the videos for you.

If you’re at home with your parents, grandparents, younger siblings or children, the University Y also has classes posted that cater to older adults, tai chi, youth sports, and kids activities. You can find all of these, as well at the classes discussed above, online at their website to keep updated.