SDSU students make at-home workout kits for seniors during the pandemic

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) – After in-person exercise classes weren’t ‘working out’ due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SDSU college students created fitness kits for senior citizens.

As the pandemic keeps many residents homebound, Ron and Linda Thaden are still keeping active.

“I have a lot of arthritis and stuff, so it really keeps me a little more nimble, you know that I can move better,” Linda Thaden said.

They’re staying in shape thanks to South Dakota State University’s ‘Healthy Movement’ program. It’s coordinated by their Exercise Science Club. They meet in the Methodist Church off-campus to guide them in exercise.

“It’s a… first of all, a reason to get out, and to meet the same people or some new people in this group and to keep active,” Ron Thaden said.

They’ve been going steadily for the past five years. That is, until last March when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the class to stop

“We tried doing it at home, but we were not very… regular in doing that,” Linda said.

Until they got a little motivation delivered right to their doorstep. Members of the Exercise Science Club led by Danika Tindall, Nikole Hemish, and Regan Benike created at-home workout kits with DVDs.

“We had a meeting with our advisor Dr. Jessica Mendoring, and we sat down and said, ‘how can we still use the funds from the club to do something help our members develop professionally but also help the community,” Hemish said.

“In each kit itself we had a set of dumbbells, a TheraBand, a PVC bar, and the video itself,” Tindall said.

They shot them doing the workouts on an iPad in the church basement. Club members led the exercises.

“I just added some intro… music to make it a little bit more fun, you know? To get up and workout in the mornings, and then I just put them all on 25 DVDs,” Benike said.

“It was a free gift. There were no fees involved, and they give their time and we are just very thankful for them,” Linda said.

Members can now go back to in-person classes, but in case they’re not comfortable, they’ll always have an alternative.

Benike went on to mention that her own dad is recovering from a severe battle with COVID-19. He got off his oxygen tank last week. It took a physical toll, but he’s using the DVD’s like physical therapy to help his recovery.

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