CHAPEL HILL – Mental health experts are saying it’s more important than ever to exercise now — not just to stay healthy but also to help manage stress during the coronavirus pandemic.

That can be harder than ever with gyms and studios closed. But coaches and instructors are figuring out quickly how to come to you.

Kara O’Briant Crooks had never even tried offering online classes before Wednesday morning.

A single mother, she owns the small business Zin Yoga.

“Obviously, I want everybody to be safe, but I too have to be safe and pay rent and mortgage and car payments,” Crooks said.

Online classes, she said, can help cover some of those for now. More importantly, they can help keep her members connected with the studio and with each other.

“We really come together every week and talk about what’s going on in our lives,” Crooks said. “To go into this isolation can be devastating for people. Yoga allows them to be physically healthy, mentally healthy, and now, with this Zoom, we can communicate as a community — just virtually.”

Zoom offers online video conferencing.

Other yoga studios are offering online classes, too.

Growga, a kids’ yoga and mindfulness startup, is going virtual to help parents and caregivers struggling to find activities for their children.

The Chapel Hill-based company is offering free online streaming classes on Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m.

There will also be a daily pre-recorded Growga class and free audio relaxation and meditation exercises. Video content will be available for free, rent, purchase or subscription.

“We want to be a resource for not only the communities in which we currently serve, but for parents and children across the U.S. and around the globe who need engaging, meaningful content for kids and families to do together at home,” said Emily Behr, founder and CEO of Growga. “Our curriculum introduces tools to help everyone cope with anxiety, which is needed now more than ever. A Growga class is meant as an integrative method to support the whole child. Not only are we giving them ways to cope with stress but we’re also helping them get their sillies out and be creative.”

Emily Behr, founder and CEO of Growga.

If cardio is more your speed, you can find bootcamp classes online at the YMCA of the Triangle website. Exercise classes for older adults are also available.

For those who can’t easily exercise but still need some support, free online support and meditation are on Facebook. Raleigh counseling firm Aspire is posting free videos every day on its Facebook page.


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