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Water jugs as weights substitute? Vaughan creative home workouts get people sweating

Recreation Vaughan also loaning their equipment during its 31-day challenge
May 11, 2020
Dina Al-Shibeeb

With about 3,750 followers, the official Instagram account for Recreation Vaughan is emerging as a platform to further connect and incentivize people to get fit and healthy in a time of quarantine.

In one video, fitness programmer Ashley answers a vital question: “How do I stop snacking?,” while Holt, one of the music instructors from Recreation Vaughan, posts a video of himself playing John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” on his ukulele to uplift spirits.

There is more going on @RecVaughan.

Each day, Recreation Vaughan's seven instructors are unleashing “different” pre-recorded workout videos on Instagram to incentivize residents to win the 31-Day Challenge, which kick-started on May 1.

Since launching the 31-Day Challenge, “each daily fitness video has an average of 1,400 views,” the City of Vaughan said.

And what’s the prize?

Given that the task of recording a video workout and sharing it on the @RecVaughan Instagram account can be “daunting,” the City of Vaughan Recreation Services department offered the lucrative “incentive,” which is a free, one-month fitness membership to the individual who submits the most videos.

This isn’t the first time Recreation Vaughan unleashed a fitness challenge. But what makes this ongoing one different is that previously “eligibility” was only for those who purchased a Vaughan Fitness membership.

“No membership is required at this time,” the city said.

The workouts, which range from tabata, circuit training, barre, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), and a variety of cardio and body conditioning exercises, are even being tailored and customized to be both home and family friendly.

When asked about people’s top concern, the city said, “The fitness team has received many questions regarding how to stay physically active while at home, with minimal or no equipment.”

“In response, our instructors designed various workouts to include family-based exercises and weight-alternative exercises with substitutes, such as water jugs, laundry detergent and towels, so they can continue to maintain their fitness goals.”

On top of that, “All video exercises have been modified for individuals to do inside the home or out in the backyard,” the city added. “They are each 10 to 15 minutes in length and can be repeated multiple times to increase the intensity of the workout -- repeat one to two times for beginners and two to four times for advanced exercisers.”

To further motivate people, five “rest days” have also been incorporated into the challenge -- these are also known as “ask the experts” days.

“These days feature a Recreation Services fitness staff member answering a common question relating to exercise and nutrition. (An) instructor also encourages (people) to post additional questions in the comments.”

However, there is some use of equipment when needed. In one video, Andrew, a Vaughan Fitness personal trainer and swim coach, is seen using stretch cord exercises to help competitive swimmers practise and maintain technique during their stay in dry land, away from the pool.


There is more to encourage people to sweat it and stay fit.

Starting May 5, the Recreation Services department allowed Vaughan Fitness members to loan some of the facility equipment for the duration of the facility closures.

Across York Region, people and organizations are doing just that -- finding creative ways of dealing with COVID-19 fallout. Some have even found creative ways to curb the feeling of isolation.

Registered psychotherapist Kylee Goldman created a gratitude jar, something she would recommend for individuals and families. Cut up slips of paper and write out what you are thankful for, said the Vaughan resident and manager at the Canadian Mental Health Association -- York and South Simcoe. Any time you start feeling angry, pull out a paper and it can help you reground yourself.