Volunteer Spotlight – Fitness in the Park By Jana Tipton

Finding a way to maintain wellness of body and mind has been a challenge since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of the Stay-at-Home Order. The sudden closure  and sports facilities took away from many residents a valuable outlet for social interaction with friends and members of the community.

The Effects of Social Isolation

Individuals soon started to feel the effects of social isolation because they were no longer able to participate in activities  services, travel, arts and entertainment events, library access, and travel. Many senior citizens had relied on local senior centers to provide a shared meal, healthcare services, and access to group  hiking, and golf outings.

The COVID-19 Directive required the closure of the West Bay Clubhouse and Fitness Center located on the HOA property. This meant that residents would not be allowed access to the  conference room for meetings and social events.

As community leaders, the members of the West Bay HOA Board recognized a need to adapt to the new environment and help to restore the social connection between friends and neighbors  organizations started to release virtual content, via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, phone apps, and Zoom sessions, to members who were no longer able to attend in-person classes at the gym. The West Bay Board shared the information to access the programs and encouraged homeowners to start using the   Jackson, reached out to members of the community and started   of a regular schedule for activity in the home. One of the key elements missing in the virtual sessions is the social interaction on a personal level, which is offered only with face-to-face presence.

The West Bay Board considered the idea of sponsoring outdoor  community clubhouse. Coach Jackson agreed to partner with

12 Community Associations Journal | December 2020

 classes. The classes were held in an open area. Social distancing was maintained by marking out a spot for each participant. Masks were required for anyone joining the class. Sanitizing supplies were provided and protocols for disinfecting equipment were maintained. The instructor provided music and exercise routines for toning, body conditioning, and Zumba, which are  were tailored to make the experience entertaining, engaging, and effective, for everyone in the group.

             Outdoor Fitness Classes

The outdoor classes, now known as “Fitness in the Park,” provided a welcome break for seniors, who have limited outlets for social interaction outside of the home, and for people who are working from home and needed a way to take a break and 

After four months, Fitness in the Park has established a “feeling of belonging” to members of the group and a shared identity for a positive purpose. The social interaction offered the opportunity to meet neighbors and form new friendships with people in the community.

Self-care is vital. Staying connected to friends and family is essential. Outdoor exercise has proven to be an effective way to promote personal well-being, on many levels, and a meaningful way to give back to the community.

I am grateful to the West Bay Homeowner Association and Coach Jackson for providing the successful outcome of Fitness in the Park.

2020 has taken us on a journey which has revealed the values which are essential for maintaining a sense of well-being. As a community leader, I will continue looking for ways to reinvent the future of social interaction and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the ever-changing world.

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