An inside look at Mt. A’s fitness program

Mounties Move is a school-led fitness program designed to support the well-being of the Mt. A community during all phases of the pandemic. Originally launched in January 2021, this program offers free, personalized 21-day workout plans as well as free consultations with Mt. A Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Coordinator Karen Arsenault and Mt. A Yoga Instructor Christina DeHaas. You may have seen the emails explaining as much, but what does the program really entail? We go to founders Arsenault and DeHaas for more.

Arsenault wanted to “provide a workout program that required minimal equipment, minimal space, and minimal time” that students could use even during quarantine. According to Arsenault, “we wanted to make ourselves available to help, and the Athletics Department was in full support and offered this as a service free of charge.”

Mounties Move offers free 20 minute consultations, which is nothing to turn your nose up at! In Arsenault’s words: “Twenty minutes of direct attention by someone who genuinely cares about your well-being is well worth it.”

DeHaas emphasized the importance of rest, a very important lesson for students. “Dropping into the ‘rest to digest’ response, stillness, is important for your body to switch from producing adrenaline and stress hormones to being balanced and relaxed.” This is a skill that everyone can benefit from practicing.

Third year Psychology student Jessica LeBlanc is “excited to try the Mounties Move program and see if it increases [her] motivation in being more active.” LeBlanc believes that “having a workout plan already set up for you saves a lot of time and stress,” and says the fact that it is created by certified personal trainers means it’ll be even more effective.

Getting back into any sort of activity after quarantine can be scary since abilities, motivation, and accessibility to programs may have changed. Arsenault’s advice? “Be compassionate with yourself.” She’d like to remind everyone that returning to a fitness routine “does not have to be complicated to be effective” and to “please ask for help, if you are uneasy.” And what better place to start then right here at Mt. A? DeHaas agrees and suggests taking “deep breaths to calm any fears and go[ing] at your own pace.” She also pointed out that “[emotional] space has been designated for you to feel safe,” another excellent example of how Mounties Move has been designed with students in mind.

While individual personal training services are available, group fitness classes can also be a fun way to increase activity while spending quality time with friends. Mt. A currently offers free classes that focus on cardio, strength, intervals, and yoga. For more information about these programs, visit mountiepride.ca. To learn more about Mounties Move, students are encouraged to email Karen Arsenault for her services at [email protected], and DeHaas can be contacted at [email protected] for personalized advice and guidance.

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