As a physical education teacher in the Ottawa school system, Lisa Carter-Rae knows firsthand the health risks of COVID-19. She also recognizes the importance of staying healthy and active for better overall wellness.

Lisa has been a GoodLife member for more than a decade. Before the pandemic, she attended group fitness classes at the Kanata Hazeldean and Castlefrank club in the Ottawa area several nights a week.

In February 2020, Lisa underwent hip replacement surgery. As a dedicated athlete and fitness lover, she went into the surgery with a plan to use the weights and machines as part of her post-surgery rehab program.

But her recovery plans were sidelined when the pandemic forced gyms to close in March 2020.

“It never occurred to me there would be no gym for me to do my rehab. I thought, what am I going to do? I had planned my whole recovery with the gym in mind."

By the time gyms reopened in the summer of 2020, Lisa was ready to go back. Being back in the gym with all the equipment, the classes and the general motivation accelerated her rehab.

“Being with other people really motivates me. It was so good to be back and to see all the familiar faces. There was a feeling of normalcy and optimism in the middle of the pandemic stress and uncertainty. We looked at each other and said ‘we’re still here!’ That energy and the equipment and routine helped me focus on my recovery and get back on my feet.”

Lisa says her time at the gym helped her manage anxiety around teaching during a pandemic. She appreciates the safety protocols and the chance to blow off steam at her favourite group fitness classes.

I love group fitness classes. When gyms were allowed to be open, I tried to go as many nights a week as I could. That’s time I could focus on taking care of my health. As a teacher, I’ve never taught in conditions like this. I love my job, but the stress of not knowing from day to day if we would be moving classes online or if anyone in my class or school had been exposed and would have to be tested. It takes its toll.”

When gyms closed again in April, Lisa resigned herself to more home workouts, but she’s looking forward to the day she can go back to GoodLife and see her gym community.

“The gym means so much to so many people. It’s critical to good health. I have gotten fit and strong there, rehabbed after surgery and worked my tail off in classes with other people who love to sweat and work too. I have access to fitness apps at home and weights at my school, but the gym environment and energy wins every time. I’m always, during a gym closure, missing the classes and the environment that comes from being part of a collective.”

The pandemic has been full of challenges and triumphs for our Members and Associates, especially in areas where gyms have faced frequent and lengthy closures. 

Throughout June and July we'll be using our channels to share your stories. We want to hear from you. Tell us what you missed most about gyms being closed during the pandemic and how it impacted your health. How did you adapt your fitness routine and what are you looking forward to most when Clubs re-open?

Please submit your story here