After more than a year of various stages of lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for many it’s time to get back into a regular fitness routine and reclaim healthy lifestyles. Luckily, with spring and warmer weather, the outdoors provides many fun ways to work out.
Seven years ago, Katie Guffey joined a stroller fitness class shortly after the birth of her first child. As a former cross-country athlete, she yearned for opportunities to push herself to reach her fitness goals while training with a group.
Now, as a mother to three children, Guffey is a certified group fitness instructor and the owner of Fit Mommy Charleston. Her company offers strength training classes that involve cardio, as well as weekly runs and monthly yoga workouts for moms, together in community.
The class meets every Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at Center Park and on Fridays at 9:30 a.m. at Etiwan Park on Daniel Island.
Guffey explained that hosting the classes outdoors provides numerous benefits.
“Exercising outdoors is a great reason to log off and enjoy some of the beautiful scenery around the area,” she said. “It provides a large space to run and complete circuits, as well as a fun place for the littles to play. We get Vitamin D from the sunshine and endorphins from the workouts. It is a huge mood booster for both the moms and the littles!”
Jill Miller, a client who regularly attends the Daniel Island sessions, agreed. “It’s rewarding to me that my kids are having fun through the experience while I’m working out and socializing at the same time. Also with COVID, I find it safer and better than ever to workout outside.”
Miller remarked that the group setting helped to keep her accountable, encouraged her to work harder, and cultivated friendships with other moms.
Guffey’s business is fueled by her passion to help women find their confidence and find themselves after becoming a mom.
“With an awesome team of trainers, a registered dietician, and an event coordinator, it has been exciting to watch our group of moms grow. We offer high quality and motivational fitness classes that are safe for every stage of motherhood,” she said.
Members can also participate in monthly “Moms’ Night Outs” and monthly kids crafts and events. Plans to expand include the addition of more outdoor yoga classes and to add a “Next Level” series for moms who have grown past having their littles along with them during workouts.
Jennifer Davis, owner of JD Fitness, offers poolside workouts every day at her home-based studio located on Pierce Street on Daniel Island. The programs are HIIT style for men and women, alternating total body, upper body, core and conditioning, and lower body.
Davis said that the workouts are kept fresh by using a variety of equipment, such as dumbbells, medicine balls, bikes, rowers and resistance bands.
“I think offering these outdoor workouts has created more opportunity for those looking for a group environment yet still not comfortable being in tight indoor quarters to workout,” Davis remarked. “The weather has been beautiful and even when it’s a little chilly, the heat builds up fast!”
When thinking about future outdoor options, she said, “I am considering a new option in the evenings which would be a class called Power. This would be a power walk/core/deep stretch poolside class. And who knows, water aerobics is not out of the question for summer 2021!”
BOOT CAMP WITH A SIDE OF SEROTONIN
On River Landing Drive, Daniel Island Fitness offers outdoor bootcamp for students in a picturesque courtyard setting, with classes for students, sixth grade and up, and adults of all ages and genders. Each day, the bootcamp targets a different muscle group to enhance strength and conditioning throughout. Calisthenic and body weight exercises are combined with interval and strength training to push clients to the peak of their fitness goals.
Caitlin Bein, owner of Daniel Island Fitness, said, “Outdoor workouts for our clients enables them to feel safe and comfortable during COVID-19. Providing outside workouts also allows our clients to spend time in the sunshine which naturally releases serotonin to positively affect our mood.”
Mary Patterson, a trainer at Daniel Island Fitness with 15 years of experience, added, “What makes our gym special is the bootcamp, scenery with convenience of the building there – bathrooms, equipment, ability to be rain or shine and run all year round – and being down the street from the waterfront – nothing like a pre- or post-workout sunrise or sunset. There is so much science on the benefits of being outside for mental health and now with COVID it helps make people feel safe that they can find their own space if
they don’t want to be too close to others – bonus of being in a community in person and still feeling safe.”
Requests for outdoor workouts have steadily increased and Bein said that they are constantly adding class times to meet the demand. In planning for the future, more outdoor classes will be part of the mix at Daniel Island Fitness.
WALKING WITH FAITH
Kathy Markham, a Daniel Island resident, exercises her faith and body simultaneously through weekly “Devotional Beach Walks.” Every Monday for the past eight years, she has met with a group of women at the Isle of Palms Methodist Church parking lot. The leader begins the session with a review of the Proverbs 31 online devotions for the week, and the participants choose one to discuss during the walk. Then the group heads to the beach and walks two miles. The session concludes with a prayer circle.
Walkers from a variety of churches participate.
“It’s very flexible in that some women walk a faster pace and some slower and we have all ages and we just join when we can,” Markham said.