10 Apr Student Spotlight: Staying Active While Home-Bound
“There’s motivation all around us if we just look for it.”
Bridgette Shannon is making the most of at-home fitness during this time of social distancing. When she’s not remote-teaching her 4th grade students, Bridgette’s busy building a routine for her “new normal,” which includes walking her dog, taking virtual Philly Dance Fitness classes and blogging about her experiences. Read on to learn how Bridgette is coping with working — and working out — at home.
Philly Dance Fitness: Tell us a little about yourself.
Bridgette: I was the kid who always wanted to be a teacher! I loved to read, play school, all that. I was also in theater and always loved dancing and performing. I once had a director say, “Wow, you’re really good at working with the other performers.” This stuck with me and inspired me to later get into teaching. I also help out with theater productions at Saint Monica’s Catholic School in South Philly, where I teach 4th grade. In addition to those performances, I’ve been co-running a community theater program for the past 4 to 5 years.
Tell us about your fitness journey.
My mindset has shifted from, “I need to lose the weight,” to “I want to get fit.” I have found that the ‘wanting’ has pushed me out of my comfort zone to have fun with getting healthy. I’ve always loved any kind of dance, so of course I enjoy dance fitness classes. I also go on runs a lot and participate in 5ks. I am doing things my way, picking up tools and tips from the fitness community that I now hold very dear.
What prompted you to start blogging about fitness?
At first, it was just a way to share my experiences. As I started trying more and more activities, I would find myself connecting with others as a way to stay fit and healthy, while holding each other accountable. It’s also a great way to get my feelings out.
What are you doing to stay fit during this time of isolation?
So far, the easiest part is taking my dog on walks, just to get fresh air. And I’ve been taking at least one PDF class a day, on the livestream or DVR. On gloomy or rainy days, I enjoy doing something lower impact, like Contemporary. I also do 30 minutes of yoga a day. I like getting the combination of high impact and then stretching while calming down.
What do you think about the livestream?
I love that it feels just like a real class! Instructors are still joking around, it feels like you’re right at home in the studio. Dancing gets all of the stress and worries pushed away. It energizes me, it’s fun, silly, and elevates my mood.
Any advice for others who may be new to getting into fitness?
Everyone is saying it, but now really is the best time! Fit it into your schedule whenever you want! You can mess up when you’re on your own and nobody is there to see you. Try it out and see what you like. The biggest thing is to get out of your head. If you’re scared, just know that once you start, you’ll just have fun!
So many people are struggling with social distancing, what’s your secret to staying so active and positive right now?
I write down everything I want to accomplish the day before. I’ve pretty much been sticking to my normal routine, while incorporating my ”new normal” of virtual school and fitness. It’s important to remember that the world’s still going. Support from family helps — my husband, mom, sister, new baby niece, friends and coworkers, everyone around me. My dad recently passed away – January 1 this year, what a way to start 2020 – but he was and still is a huge motivator for me. And when I’m down, my motivation comes from the feeling I get after working out.
It’s also really important to reach out to people, whether in comment sections on social media or directly to people you know. Tell them how you’re feeling and ask how they’re doing. You’ll find that many others feel the same as you do. Keep connecting with people who share the same interests and maybe you’ll make a new friend. You’re not alone!
Interview by Delaney Malloy, edited for brevity and clarity