Rice Rec Center now offering live workout classes, meditation and more online

Even though its doors are closed, the Rice gym is still open for business — online.

Live workout classes from the Rice Rec Center will be offered over Zoom.

Live workout classes from the Rice Rec Center will be offered over Zoom.

Using a new wellness website launched March 23 and Zoom video conferencing software, the Gibbs Recreation and Wellness Center is offering everything from live workout classes and meditation sessions to resources on staying sane and physically active during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are excited to help the campus think about this time as an opportunity for growth and transformation,” said Elizabeth Slator, associate director of programs at the rec center, who’s put her own experience teaching online courses to good use as the Gibbs team transitions its classes and expert guidance to the internet.

Two “zero-equipment” classes, Owl Pump and Boot Camp, will be modified for Rice community members working out from home. For those who have weights, Chiseled will also be taught twice a week. All courses will be live on Zoom.

Alex Faris, assistant director for fitness and wellness at the rec center, compares taking care of your physical and mental health to making sure you’re changing your engine oil and checking the tires on your car.

“There are some really rugged roads out there, so you’ve got to do that preventive maintenance,” Faris said. “On a physiological level, both mindfulness-based practices and regular exercise supports our immune system and helps alleviate the symptoms of stress.”

Alex Faris leads a live stretching break via Zoom.

Alex Faris leads a live stretching break via Zoom.

Live wellness sessions offered by Gibbs currently include 20-minute stretch breaks on Mondays and Wednesdays and 20-minute guided meditations on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The rec team plans to offer a wider variety of live sessions soon, including cooking demonstrations, and is creating weekly fitness challenges through Instagram. An eight-class virtual tai chi course begins March 30, held live on Zoom Monday and Wednesday mornings from 7 to 8.

Slator and Faris worked with Tina Villard and other Gibbs team members to create and consolidate all of these classes on one website. But that’s not all they compiled.

You’ll also find workout and training plans, free online yoga and fitness videos, articles on self-care and mindfulness and terrific tips on working from home — all vetted and recommended by the Gibbs staff.

“We all came together as a group to support the Rice community,” Faris said. “And the responses so far have been really positive.”

About Katharine Shilcutt

Katharine Shilcutt is a media relations specialist in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.