Vancouver is known to have an active population. From yoga on the beach in summer to shredding the slopes all winter, Vancouver is no doubt a city of fit and fun folks.

Staying fit requires training, of course, which explains why Vancouver boasts around 200 gyms. Always busy, these shops never close—until a global pandemic hits, that is.

COVID-19, as we have come to know it, recently forced the closure of gyms in Vancouver, as well as surrounding areas. Several hundred gyms—and their combined tens of thousands of patrons—shuttered virtually overnight.

Thankfully, technology is finding ways to bridge the gap between an authentic gym experience and one limited to the boundaries of self-isolation. Gyms across the region have taken to online services like Instagram and YouTube to stream live workouts that can be performed by audiences at home.

These workouts allow people to continue with a fitness regime even in the midst of a global virus. For many, their workout is an anchor for the day, and the absence of it can throw everything else off. Plus, workout streams often include group chats, which increases social interaction among the otherwise isolated.

That said, it is not all roses. These technological adaptations are only the silver lining of a harsher reality: that gyms, and personal trainers, and suffering a loss of business nationwide.

“This is the first time in 36 years I’ve ever had to close,” Maureen Wilson, owner of Sweat Co. in downtown Vancouver, told CTV News.

“My work has definitely decreased,” added fitness instructor Hayley McGowan.

Trainers and gyms must adapt quickly to a new paradigm shift, however temporary it may be. That means reaching clients however they can: in this case, through online channels.

“With everything going on in the world, there has never been a time in modern history where connecting online has been as important as it is now,” writes Harmonie Vachon of Trainerize, a Vancouver-made fitness app built for personal trainers and their clients.

In a blog post for Trainerize, Vachon guides personal trainers through the process of creating dynamic and engaging video- and stream-based sessions.

As for those seeking a sweat, current options are certainly better than nothing. After all, just a few minutes of purposeful movement can help us maintain an all-important sense of presence.

During quarantine-like conditions it is crucial to stave off boredom, remove negative thoughts, and shove aside feelings of social isolation. It’s never truly the same as the real thing, but online group workouts offer a little something for trainer and client alike. Technology, infused with the spirit of Vancouverites, enables this small but important ray of hope.

Stay safe—and fit—out there, everyone!