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Newmarket gym owner throws down coronavirus fitness challenge

#healthyathome: Healthy habits challenge to silly walks help fight isolation
May 11, 2020
Lisa Queen and Simone Joseph

With his gym’s doors shut due to coronavirus restrictions, Greg Moulton wanted to find a way to keep his clients from slipping back into bad habits.

Moulton owns Matrix of Motion Fitness Studios, a boutique gym on Stellar Drive.

The business came up with a 21-day at-home fitness and healthy habits challenge that encourages participants to move their bodies, drink water, get enough sleep and maintain social contacts while adhering to COVID-19 rules.

Then, Moulton decided to kick it up a couple of notches.

Not only has he opened the challenge up to the public, but he’s using the forum to raise money for small Newmarket businesses hurt by the pandemic.

Instead of paying the studio, participants donate an amount of their choosing, with 100 per cent of the money going to buy a gift card from a small business to help keep them afloat.

The participant gets the gift card, although some have donated them to people in need.

The challenge is a way to promote physical and mental health during a time when many people are coping with stress and isolation, Moulton said.

“We still need to maintain social connections and this was one way that, through our studio, we can create a greater sense of community,” he said.

“It allowed us all to participate together, to feel supported through it.”

For more information, visit

Some Newmarket residents are finding more whimsical ways of helping others beat the coronavirus blues.

For example, Ivadell Rose Esch has posted a Monty Python-inspired sign outside her Gorham Street home.

“You have now entered the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Silly Walks. Commence silly walks immediately!” it says.
While Esch has only seen a few people walking silly, she has noticed a lot of smiles on the faces of people passing the sign.

“It’s just so absurd and in our house, we really appreciate silly things,” she added.

Visit the town’s virtual recreation and culture hub, to find ways to fight social isolation through DIY decor, backyard games and recipes.

Combatting social isolation and promoting good mental health goes beyond Newmarket, of course.

Visit for resources about mental health during the pandemic.

The provincial government has committed $12 million towards fighting anxiety and depression during the coronavirus crisis. Visit for more information.

When Professor John Eastwood interviewed Chris Hadfield, the astronaut talked about never being bored, even while tucked away in a tiny capsule circling the earth.

“He would look for opportunities to engage the mind no matter the circumstance,” Eastwood said.

Eastwood interviewed Hadfield while researching a book he co-authored called “Out of My Skull,” due out in June, which asks: what if we listened to boredom instead of banishing it?

Canadians are feeling increasingly isolated (up from 39 to 47 per cent in less than one month). They crave meaningful connections, according to data released May 4 by the Canadian Mental Health Association in partnership with Maru/Matchbox.

It’s important to notice when you are bored and not try to push this feeling away, he said. “Look for activities that give expression to passion and creativity,” said Eastman, associate professor in York University’s psychology department and a clinical psychologist.

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.