SUDDEN lockdown for millions of people has come as a culture shock for many and while exercise is one of the permitted outside activities, many people are turning to different ways to keep in shape while households are being told to stay home.

Self-employed pilates instructor Susie Black had been running popular classes for her clients when talk of a coronavirus lockdown came.

When it was looking likely that she would have to halt classes face to face in a studio, she thought about how she could reinvent the business during this time and hopefully emerge through the other side.

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Mrs Black, who runs classes in Coupar Angus, Perthshire, realised the way to keep classes going and maintain connections with people would be through online classes and now a support community has emerged on a dedicated facebook page which has also been set up.

“We had been preparing for some kind of lockdown even ahead of the announcement. We had a strict cleaning policy in the studio. We tried to keep going with the class and keep ahead of things, but it just ended up being a bit of a roller coaster,” said Mrs Black.

“I think self-employed instructors were able to move faster as we are a bit more nimble in how we could react compared to some gyms. More and more clients were cancelling. So I knew things had to change.”

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Mrs Black linked up with a local video maker and recorded a series of classes which could be posted online.

“Online videos was one answer and would certainly work for some exercise instructors, but with pilates I really needed to see people and be able to give them instruction and make corrections. That is when I thought online platform Zoom would work as it meant I could run live classes.

“I am not able to run the full number of classes as some of my clients are older and it would require face to face instruction which obviously can’t be done at the moment. However we have adapted and so far the feedback has been very positive.”

A number of instructors have been offering classes online including fitness guru Joe Wicks who has been running a daily 15 minute work out for people to join. While there are a number of restrictions in place during lockdown.

Mrs Black added: “ One of the most important things just now is ways of keeping connected. It is so shocking to be in this situation and we need things that bring us together and exercise can do that.

“My mantra is enjoy good health and I have be using that to build an online network of people who want to live healthier. Being active right now is so important.”

In Renfrewshire an already thriving Zumba community wasted no time in getting behind online classes.

Normally run at the village’s church hall, the Cornerstone, Zumba in Bishopton with George has been popular with locals for many years, but now his classes have switched to Zoom.

Instructor George Robertson said: “I've been running Zumba classes over Zoom for a couple of weeks. I had never tried before so learning and fixing problems as we go along.

“I cleared everything out of the kitchen to provide a place to broadcast from. Many of our amazing regular local participants from our 'real life' Bishopton class are coming, along with people from my Houston and Neilston ones. It's lovely to see them turning up and they can see each other too if they want to.

“It's a lot better than I thought - it does still give some of the community feel and solidarity of the real life classes and it keeps us all sane - and sweating and shaking until we can go back to reality. People can see one another when they sign in and we can have a chat after and I think people need that right now.”

Meanwhile, later life training guru and Professor of Ageing and Health Dawn Skelton at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) is looking to help older people cope in the coronavirus crisis and improve their lives with new live online movement sessions.

Almost 2,000 people from all over the world have already signed up to take part in the research-based Make Movement your Mission for 10-minutes three times per day for 30 days on Facebook and YouTube interactive platforms.

She said it’s not only older people who are getting involved in the free classes from the US, Canada and across Europe but younger people who are physically restricted are getting in on the act too and enjoying every minute of it.

Professor Skelton, who a world-renowned ageing well researcher and also director not-for-profit organisation Later Life Training in collaboration with GCU, has been blown away by the response to the new online channel and the support it’s had from a host of professional bodies.

She said: “This is not a home exercise programme – the whole point is to change behaviour of those currently stuck at home. It’s about just getting people to move more regularly throughout the day. It’s based on years of research.

“We are getting lots of people who would normally go to exercise classes for older adults signing up but we also have loads of people who have joined who’ve never done any form of exercise before getting involved.

“We’ve only just launched it and the feedback we are getting from those taking part and professional bodies has been phenomenal."