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Hub for Good

Meet Kristen. Kristen Handford is a Carleton alumna (BIB/09) based in Hong Kong. She is also a personal trainer who specializes in women’s health.

In regular times, she runs pre- and postnatal group fitness classes designed to support healthy pregnancies and postpartum periods. Importantly, her classes also provide a safe place for mothers to come together and share experiences, bond and support each other.

Not wanting her ‘tribe of mamas’ to miss out on that sense of community, she has committed to continuing to offer programming and support in virtual environments.

“We can’t get together in person anymore, but we still chat via our WhatsApp group. We motivate one another to find the time to exercise,” Kristen shares.

“I’m providing virtual personal training to some of my clients via Zoom or Skype to provide one-on-one and small group support and coaching. But I have also started hosting a few live workouts a week on my Instagram page to allow a larger audience to benefit and get involved. I make the workouts available for 24 hours after the live session in order to accommodate different schedules.”

Her motivation for offering these services? Accountability, routine and connection.

“We are physically distant from one another, but it’s important to still stay connected socially,” Kristen explains. “By following the same workout at the same time from our own homes, and then chatting and sharing photos afterwards, we can feel a little more connected. There’s more accountability when everyone is doing it together, which can help us stay motivated, too.”

According to Kristen, health and wellness should be a priority for everyone. As a mother herself, she’s all about empowering women and other moms—encouraging them to be active and strong. And while physical activity is always important, it’s even more crucial now, she says.

“Exercise not only benefits your immunity, but also your mental health—both of which are especially important in times like these,” Kristen explains. “Getting in a sweat can be a great way to relieve stress and boost your mood.”

And with so many of us working home, she says, there are fewer opportunities for movement—like walking to meetings or going to your regular fitness classes.

“When working from home, general activity levels tend to decrease, and time sitting tends to increase,” she remarks. “Our bodies are meant to move, so I’m hoping I can encourage people to fit a bit more movement into their days.”

Kristen’s overarching message during this undeniably hard time is to take care of yourselves and to look out for one another. She suggests that reaching out to loved ones, exercising and practicing breathing exercises are great strategies to keep ourselves grounded.

“We can stay home and stay healthy,” Kristen says. “Find your workout tribe and take advantage of technology to keep you connected and accountable. Recruit your friends and family and find what works for you. This is something we can do together to support our physical and mental health.”

Follow Kristen on Instagram for live workouts and daily fitness inspiration.

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