While the heart of summer and all of its recreational opportunities is here, there are many folks who a struggling to stay fit with limited access to local gyms and very few indoor fitness classes available. And there are many folks who are taking full advantage of all of The Valley’s many recreational opportunities.

Nancy Henry, Waitsfield, said she needs a fitness class setting to stay on track.

“I’m not, nor have I ever been a good self-motivator when it comes to pushing or challenging myself working out solo,” she said.

She has tried 30-minute videos and says they are better than nothing but not challenging enough. Plus, with warmer weather, the room where she works out is too hot.

Prior to COVID, Steve Glaser, Warren, took three fitness classes a week and sometimes used the gym. He’s now walking 3.5 to 5.3 miles four or five times a week and also working in his garden. He plays golf three times a week using a cart, which he said is still a good workout.

Initially, Lauren Slater, Fayston, replaced regular fitness class attendance with fat biking and walking her dog. But it wasn’t enough so she started looking for YouTube workouts.

 “The only place in my house with enough room to exercise is my bedroom, and to make the space I have to move my dog’s bed and roll up a rug. Then I take my mat and any other equipment I need for the workout out of the closet. It’s a pain, but it’s worth it,” she said.  Joanne Fitzgerald, Fayston, said her New Year’s resolution was to begin a 15-minute daily yoga practice which she has continued through COVID. Prior to COVID she’d begun taking group fitness classes.

“Now, with social distancing, I do an at-home aerobic fitness routine two to three days a week, and as I can I take online yoga classes.  When possible, I get outdoors, take nature walks and do yard work,” Fitzgerald said.

Chuck Clarke and his wife Char are taking Zoom fitness classes five to six days a week as well as using some other online classes.

Nancy Murray, Fayston, said that pre-virus, she was very motivated by group fitness classes and now finds herself walking or kayaking with a friend, but often by herself.


“I have a few group apps to report to that keep me “getting up and out the door; I also miss the routine of a class schedule. It all now seems to be weather related. But I do find moving more important than ever,” she said.

Karen Pearson, Waitsfield, said her list of how she was staying fit was short and included walking, yard work, house projects, the dog and some kayaking.

Mary “George” Schenk, Warren, said she hasn’t been as consistent as she’d like. Sometimes she walks or does a barre video.

“When COVID hit in the spring and it was raining every day, I was pretty pitiful. I read a lot.

I am tired of all of this, as is everyone. No better place to be than here though. I did go to my brother's in RI for an ocean fix. That was wonderful,” she said.

Ashley McNeish of Waitsfield has been staying active during the pandemic by hiking. 

“I feel incredibly lucky to be living in Vermont with access to the outdoors during a global pandemic,” she said. “The Long Trail runs 273 miles through the Green Mountains, from Massachusetts to Canada. I’ve been able to get out and do various section hikes of the trail.”


McNeish noted that some sections of the trail are more crowded than others, but people have been doing a good job taking social distancing seriously at both shelters and camp sites. “It seems like a lot of people have the idea of escaping into the woods,” she added.

Jeff Lu of Warren has been using his quarantine time to play lots of tennis. “Tennis is my favorite way to stay active!” he said. “I just have so much fun getting outside in the fresh air, running around the court hitting tennis balls and spending time with friends.”

Sam Gavett of Waitsfield has made use of The Valley’s many mountain biking trails during this social distancing time. “I’ve been mountain biking a lot!” said Gavett. “The trails in The Valley have been really great. Gavett said he’s grateful that the governor opened up mountain biking trail access early on in the pandemic. As for his trail recommendations, Gavett said, “the Evolution Trail is pretty fun!”

For Wendell Anderson, Waitsfield, staying active during the pandemic has been a breeze, thanks to his new workout buddy.  “We can chalk up 90 percent of our active life to our new puppy, Nico,” he reported. “While we play tennis and mountain bike, Nico has brought us to swim and hike every day. Almost without fail, his needs align nicely with things we like to do.” Anderson also mentioned that he had walked over 10,000 miles with his last dog, Nina.