TIMMINS -- While many people are feeling cooped-up at home, fitness centres like Discover Fitness in Timmins look to keep community members physically and mentally engaged during their self-isolation with virtual classes.

With gyms being one of the first businesses legislated to close by the Ontario government, Discover Fitness’ operations manager Lisa Tremblay said her team wanted to keep the social connection alive by continuing its fitness classes online — and adding extra content to make isolation less lonely.

"It’s been very challenging for (our clients) to isolate at home and to stay home and to not be able to physically interact," said Tremblay, in a video call interview.

"We’re trying to keep that connection as much as we can throughout this process."

The fitness centre has made a point of incorporating other small businesses in the community into its live-streams, which it does through Facebook.

discover fitness 1Tremblay hosts regular cooking classes for gym members to keep them engaged with healthy meal ideas. April 11/2020 (Sergio Arangio/CTV News Northern Ontario)

Tremblay has invited guest speakers to offer tips on coping with self-isolation, working from home, physiotherapy tips, hair tutorials and extra fitness exercises. 

The gym is giving front-line workers free access to the live-streams.

Linda Mercier, in her 60's, is passionate about fitness and was a regular visitor at Discover Fitness before the pandemic struck.

Now, Mercier participates in as many online classes as she can, saying it’s her main source of social connection right now.

Linda MercierLinda Mercier said she takes her fitness seriously and she often chats with other gym members on their private community Facebook group. April 11/2020 

"I have a little bit of company but really the ability to work out helps to keep me stronger and a little more connected, grounded," said Mercier over video call.

"It clears my mind and stops me from thinking — or overthinking — some of the situation that we’re going through right now."