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Business Outside The Box

North Canterbury businesses are facing unprecedented challenges amid the evolving Covid-19 situation. Each week we’ll profile a local business which is thinking outside the box to adapt to a new reality. Let’s share ideas and support local businesses.

Gina McKenzie

Laura Organ of PT on Panckhurst prepares for her next online fitness class

A desire to boost physical and mental wellbeing, while helping clients maintain an exercise routine prompted Laura Organ of PT on Panckhurst to move her classes online the day before the lockdown began.

Pre-lockdown, Laura ran box fit classes for general fitness and balance and strength sessions for seniors from the Woodend Community Centre, along with personal training sessions from her home gym. She’s kept the online sessions running at the same time to provide a sense of routine. This also allows her to work from home in her role as a community strength and balance advisor with Sport Canterbury.

Laura offered the first week of classes free of charge so she could test the new system. She’s providing access to all classes for $10 per week during the lockdown period to keep costs affordable.

“It’s important to exercise regularly to keep our bodies and minds healthy during this stressful time. I normally charge $8 - $12 per class but decided to reduce this to make it accessible for everyone.”

Laura’s using cloud-based platform Zoom to host her classes which allows her to see participants performing the workouts and offer advice in real time. She’s upgraded to the paid version to live stream classes beyond the 40-minute limit for the free version.

Another benefit is the live interaction between class members and Laura during the sessions.

“Having a quick chat about everyday things like what we’re having for dinner before or after the class helps everyone feel connected. Also, if people need to check something during the class, they can ask me questions anytime.”

With people having less space to exercise at home, Laura has adapted her workouts to fit into a 1 metre by 1 metre space and uses household items like cans instead of weights.

Laura’s pleased to see how clients, particularly those in the older age group, have adapted so quickly to using Zoom.

“Everyone’s said it’s simple to use. You just click an email link to join which makes it easier than some other platforms.”

Laura’s advice for other businesses wanting to try something new is to embrace stepping outside your comfort zone.

“I’d thought about online sessions before but hadn’t go around to it, so it’s a great opportunity to learn something new. It’s all about getting creative and adapting to exercising in a new way.”

For more information on Laura’s classes email:

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