MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota National Guard is using its partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools to push virtual fitness during these times of social distancing.

Since classrooms are empty, recruiters are using technology to get in front of young people, and keep students motivated and stress-free during these uncertain times.

Distance learning forced Edison High School’s fitness for life instructor Lauren Wheeler to think outside the box to keep her students motivated.

“I wanted to still see my students i did not want them to be stressed out,” Wheeler said.

She took what was a one-time visit to her class from Staff Sergeant Anthony Pace and created a virtual workout, Cross Fit Wednesday, where students can focus on fitness, giving them a break from the new normal of life with COVID-19.

“I feel like it really takes away stress for that period of time, so it really takes my mind off things,” senior Marcus Poe said. “It’s hard work. It teaches you to never give up, and push yourself through.”

Students like Poe and Delanie Moore say this workout is important, for both physical and mental health.

“At school, you’re walking around at least 2 miles a day between classes. Without that you don’t really get that much exercise,” Moore said. “Senior working out helps me a lot. Its a nice way to relieve stress for me.”

Pace and his exercise partner, Specialist Haynes, say this virtual set-up keeps them involved while schools are closed.

“It’s nice to be a part of the community and be active in the schools, you know, have a presence. And for the students I feel like it’s good for them to have something, so they can stay active. I imagine everyone is cooped up in the bedrooms and their living rooms,” Pace said.

It’s not just students from Edison joining in all the virtual fun. Pace says some recruits are joining, along with other high schools in the surrounding areas.

“It’s actually gotten a lot bigger than I thought it would,” Pace said.

Getting bigger and fit is what some students hope is the outcome of all this exercise. Their teacher hopes it leads to a lifestyle change that will have a positive impact on their lives forever.

“Learning to still continue to work out fitness for life you can still work out.even under this pandemic,” Wheeler said.

National Guard Recruiters provide other classes for students virtually to keep them engaged. CrossFit Wednesdays can be found on the Minnesota Army National Guard’s website. Anyone is welcome to join in.

Reg Chapman

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