As FLexercise classes gradually return, read Sally’s experiences of returning back to her first face to face FLexercise class since the pandemic.
Bag packed, clothes laid out, everything checked several times – I’m taken back 60 odd years to the start of a new autumn term at school after a long holiday.
The mixture of excitement, anticipation and apprehension; will my new hall space work, how will it feel seeing class members face to face after so many months of Zoom-only contact, how will we all feel being in the same room with other people?
The last 14 months have been so strange but we have become used to this way of life, seeing each other on Zoom, sharing classes over YouTube and Facebook. However most have jumped at the chance to return to ‘real’ classes.
Meeting my class for the first time in a long while
My new hall is six flights of stairs up in the roof space of a converted church. I’ve warned everyone that the lift only takes one at a time and that the climb upwards is a test of their aerobic fitness! I puff upwards myself, pleased that my sound dock isn’t too heavy and that I’m not using any apparatus – clubs would be a weight too far! Lights on, music set up, spaces delineated and I’m good to go as I hear the first sounds of chat on the stairs… and that sets the mood for the morning; absolute delight as we meet to exchange news and exclaim how we all look just the same. After a few moments it feels as though our previous class was only last week.
Pause for conversation; but we are here for the exercise, so I put the first track on and we move into our warm up. Zoom has been a wonderful alternative to keep us going over lockdown, but I realise there is nothing quite like the buzz we get from moving together to a favourite track. I can see whole bodies, read facial expressions and respond to the music and my class in a way that just isn’t possible online. I’m really impressed by how fit my class members have kept themselves; and we are loving the familiar moves with a few added extras for interest and challenge.
Warm up, posture, whole body movement, floor work, revite, cool down; an hour goes past in a flash, and then the actual reason why we are all here – coffee!! Luckily there are plenty of empty outside tables at our nearest coffee shop and we split into small groups to have a proper catch-up. I’m looking forward to my second face-to-face class the next day and a Zoom class on Thursday morning.
It’s been an interesting experience, and I’ve been reflecting on the pros and cons of Zoom and face-to-face classes. With a good wifi connection Zoom allows everyone to see and hear me very well; I can move closer to the camera to demonstrate small movements, and my recorded classes are on YouTube for a catch-up. We’ve also enjoyed the extra half hour over breakfast and no travelling over a snowy winter!
However, I can see everyone so much better in ‘real life’, I can adapt the moves as needed, there is the energy and excitement that comes from moving together and there is the wonderful warm and friendly social atmosphere in the class. I can see many of us keeping the two systems running in parallel over the coming months as they both have a part to play.
Are you looking for a virtual or face-to-face class? Please check our class search: https://www.fl-exercise.com/find-a-class/