Vancouver aquafit instructor takes classes online with living room 'pool'
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver aquafit instructor has found a creative way to keep her classes afloat while staying inside: she's transformed her living room into a "swimming pool."
Meaghan Kennedy is now teaching daily, 30-minute "poolside" classes at 1 p.m. PST and streaming them on her Facebook and Instagram channels for free. The instructor said, with the pools being closed, she needed to find a creative way to teach.
"I love aquafit so much. It just felt really strange not to be able to do it," she said. "What I like about aquafit is that it's so inclusive. So I thought, maybe I could craft something."
Kennedy is also an artist and makes custom-order piñatas, so she already had plenty of craft supplies on-hand, which she used to transform her living room into an aquatic centre. She hand-crafted dumbbells, pool noodles, and a life preserver out of paper mache. She's also hung blue tissue paper "water" from her walls and green paper "seaweed" from the ceiling.
"In order to stay motivated and creative, I think that we have to create projects for ourselves," she said. "I'm so grateful to be doing this because at 1 p.m., I have a thing to do. I have a reason to get out of bed."
She runs through the exercises that she would normally do in the pool, except she does them from her living room floor in running shoes instead of a bathing suit.
Kennedy said many aquafit students have mobility issues, so she has been trying to make her classes as inclusive as possible by modifying moves to make them more approachable for people on land.
She typically has about 20 to 25 people logging in to watch her lessons, which she says is about the average size of a typical aquafit class, but now, her students are not just in Metro Vancouver.
"I've got a young lady taking it who lives in Sweden. I have someone in New York doing it. My whole family's in Toronto and they're doing it every day with my nieces, which is so cute. A lot of my friends in Toronto and Montreal are doing it every day," she said. "It's the world wide web. So I've got people from all over the world joining in, which is so cool. It gives me a lot of joy."
Kennedy became a certified instructor in 2019 and usually teaches at several locations, including the YWCA and the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, but she wasn't always this athletic. It took a suggestion from a friend for her to find her new passion.
"I'd never worked out before in my whole life. A friend of mine encouraged me to take aquafit, so I went to the aquatic centre about two years ago and took my first class and was instantly obsessed with it," she said. She noticed a change in her energy level and decided she wanted to become a teacher.
"I finally understood that quote in Legally Blonde where she says, 'happy people don't kill their husbands because they have endorphins,'" she said.
Kennedy said a number of lifeguards and fellow aquafit instructors have also been taking her classes. While the online sessions have been a great way for her to stay connected with others while physical distancing, she is also currently unemployed because of the pandemic and taking contributions to her Paypal account.
But she says that she's happy to be providing a space where people can have a bit of fun while they're stuck at home.
"I just want people to feel comfortable and have a good time and be a bit silly because there's a lot of things to be super stressed out about right now," she said.