Woman does reverse lunge exercise

Quick Fit With Cassy (At Home!)

May 30, 2020 Sigrid Peterson Leave a Comment

Back in March PBS Wisconsin launched our first digital fitness series Quick Fit With Cassy, rolling out eight original studio episodes offering gentle, zero-impact stretching and strengthening performed in short workouts of ten minutes or less.

It’s safe to say a lot has changed since then, but our host Cassy Vieth is back (at home!) with a new batch of weekly installments. Life continues (if modified) and, as Cassy reminds us, life is movement, so we caught up with her to ask about what’s next for Quick Fit and how to keep moving through challenging times.

Q: Kicking off this new round of Quick Fit is an episode dedicated to exercises for gardeners – perfect timing! What injuries are we prone to as we leap enthusiastically into the dirt? What sort of muscle conditioning helps?

A: With gardening, low-backs and knees are at risk. In addition, overall body aches develop because gardening (and life) involves functional movement. Any movements we haven’t been doing regularly challenge us and produce sore muscles. While it’s impossible to stay conditioned for every activity all the time, a regular global movement program — like Quit Fit and Move With Cassy on YouTube— will keep you prepared.

fitness instructor demonstrates fo floor exercise

Weakness comes from tightness, so staying stretched and retaining the largest range of motion in as many joints as possible will reduce soreness AND improve recovery time if you try to do too much all at once.

For those with preexisting conditions, it’s even more important to stay loose and balanced to reduce the likelihood of a pain event. I remind people that pain events are rarely caused by our most recent movement. The imbalance and damage have been accumulating from daily habit and lack of awareness. That’s why everyday repair, prevention and maintenance is so critical.

Q: All Quick Fit With Cassy episodes are designed to do at home. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, brings new meaning to “at home” with so many of us working, caretaking and living indoors much longer than we’re used to. How do we maintain our physical health in this challenging time? 

A: Being kept from friends and family is stressful for everyone. Our home offices may not be ergonomic and we’re likely sitting a lot more on an altered schedule. Muscle atrophy develops very quickly. Fitting exercise in during the workday is critical to staying healthy — for our muscles and our minds, but for our internal organs, too, which get squished and compressed from sitting. The consequence is diminished performance compared to when we stand tall, practice good posture and support healthy blood flow from the toes to the brain.

Short classes are ideal for brief work breaks. Quick Fit’s gentle, direct instructions about correct posture and body movement stick in your head so you can make corrections throughout the day. The short format of Quick Fit makes for an enjoyable way to keep our bodies craving movement instead of inactivity. You’ll have more energy if you move frequently!

Q: What about our mental health? We’re encouraged to practice “self care,” but in a climate of anxiety, uncertainty, overwork and grief this feels out-of-reach. Why is it important, especially now, to practice self-care and how do we do this?

fitness instructor takes deep breath in
Host Cassy Vieth takes in a deep breath in her at-home studio.

It’s proven that exercise improves mood. Performing exercise (a key part of any self-care routine) right away in the morning will set you up for a positive outlook throughout the day. It will help you care for those you love. Gentle, full-body movement is the most well-rounded and comprehensive way to care for oneself.  When we have our health, full use of our body and can move pain-free — we think sharper. We’re better prepared to face adversity, fight disease and feel satisfied with life.

Q: The Quick Fit With Cassy production has relocated from our in-house studios to your home in Spring Green (for now). Tell us about the transition. Any quirks? 

A: It required Cameron (my husband) and I to create an appealing studio set-up with lights, camera and audio. We live on a street that was scheduled for major road work — tree removal and demolition to replace curb, gutter and utilities. Construction equipment has operated right outside our front door since March 20. For two solid months (and going) we’ve heard diggers, dump trucks, backup buzzers, ground vibrators, pounding, you name it! Not exactly ideal for professional media production. And my gym members can hear the machinery during my Facebook Live classes 🙂 .

Q: Most importantly, how are you, your family and your fitness community in Spring Green? Fitness is your livelihood strategy and the pandemic has affected work for everyone. How have your businesses, Lexington Fitness and Move With Cassy, had to adjust?

A: The economic fallout of this crisis will be felt for a very long time, even after people begin resuming former routines. People feel afraid and aren’t patronizing businesses that require prolonged proximity to others. We’re fortunate — we were already familiar with filming for an online audience. But many of our members don’t have reliable access to quality internet service and some aren’t oriented to online fitness.

inspirational quoteThe last two months we filmed from our home studio. I offered live classes called The Daily Stretch — 30minute stretching and strengthening much like Quick Fit with Cassy. We posted them live on Facebook and at Move With Cassy on YouTube. BUT it was very hit-or-miss with internet and audio issues. One day we’d have 20 viewers and the next, three. Getting consistency was difficult.

Now that we’ve reopened our gym, we don’t have enough people to begin group classes. So this week, once again, I filmed live Facebook classes so paying members can still find value and keep moving. I’ve also offered classes on Instagram along with the YouTube channel. One way or another, I want people to have a way to keep moving and see that they are not alone.

Cameron and I are well. A big challenge has been stress management — offering people access to classes (free), making the classes visible on as many platforms as possible, and trying to create quality videos for several platforms. We are not sick, but we’re exhausted. Many of our members (bless them) are not requiring us to reimburse them for the two months they could not access the gym. We are hugely grateful for their continued support. We have lost many members because they’ve lost work. We’re hoping it will balance out.