Some families stayed in touch during the pandemic with Zoom happy hours. Theresa Schubert connected with her five children and extended family through a 12-week virtual fitness challenge. “We live across the country but would post our daily workouts on a thread for motivation and accountability,” says Ms. Schubert, a 49-year-old high-school student-activities coordinator in Honolulu.
Some of her children, who range between ages 15 and 26, live with her, while others are farther away. Ms. Schubert was inspired to see her three eldest girls carving out time for fitness. Her twenty-six-year-old twin daughters, Mahina Choy-Ellis and Taimane Kini, were running businesses; Ms. Kini also was raising a family. And Tenielle Ellis, 20, was taking college classes virtually in New York. “I told myself I didn’t have an excuse,” Ms. Schubert says. “I was working from home and enlisted my 16-year-old daughter, Aree, as my accountability partner.”
For years, maintaining a fitness routine was hard because high-impact exercises like jogging were uncomfortable, Ms. Schubert says. She had gained weight with each pregnancy, reaching a peak of 220 pounds. After a divorce in 2009, she lost weight but edged back up into the 215-pound range. She also was constantly driving her children to activities or sports practices. “I had a slow start of putting myself first,” she says. “Then, the pandemic happened.”
Pre-pandemic, Mahina had been exercising at a studio in New York called Brrrn, where workouts use a slide board. Participants wear booties over their sneakers that allow them to move side to side across the board’s slick surface. Mahina sent her mom a Brrrn Board and membership for virtual classes like yoga, boot camp and cardio sculpt, as a gift last July.
“For the first time in my life I’m excited to work out because it’s fun,” Ms. Schubert says. “It’s challenging but you can be successful with the low- to mid-impact movements.” She has shed 12 pounds and gone from size 14 to a 12. “I feel strong and confident wearing clothes again,” she says. “And my kids give me shout-outs on group chats saying, ‘Look at my mom killing it’ and it’s really cool.” As normal life returns, Ms. Schubert says, her family is setting new fitness challenges to stay accountable and has packed the summer with hiking, surfing and other activities.