Indoor Fitness

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With the DICK’S Sporting Goods 2020 Pittsburgh Marathon recently becoming a virtual marathon, it got us thinking about virtual fitness in general, and how important it can be during an isolating time.

Virtual fitness describes exercise programs that are offered online and can be done at home, allowing exercisers to follow along via their electronic devices. If you are used to fitness classes and other group exercise, some virtual programs offer an online community where you can interact and burn calories with your peers.

While UPMC as a whole is working to expand virtual appointment capabilities so that you can see your doctor or physical therapist from the comfort of your own home, we also recognize how important it is that casual and elite athletes keep up with their workouts throughout this unusual time. So, we did our research and pulled together a few tips about virtual fitness.

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DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Virtual Marathon

Now that the Pittsburgh marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, and 5K run have gone virtual, participants can run whenever and wherever is convenient for them and submit their race time online to receive credit for completing the race. Using the hashtag #MOVEPittsburgh, participants can still create the incredible sense of community felt around the marathon each year.

P3R, who organizes the marathon, still plans to give away their virtual goody bag to all runners and has added additional perks and giveaways. They’ve also created a virtual race bib and have mapped out and shared courses for nearly every neighborhood in the Pittsburgh area so that runners don’t have to develop their own courses. The way that the Pittsburgh Marathon has adapted in these ever-changing times is just one example of a community coming together in the name of virtual fitness.

Treadmill and Stationary Bike Fitness

If you own a treadmill or stationary bike, odds are you may already have a home workout routine. But, did you know that you don’t have to do it alone? Through virtual fitness, you can watch, follow along with, and receive instruction/motivation from a coach. Your treadmill or bike may include a screen where you can watch your favorite class, but if not, simply position yourself to face your television, or place your tablet or phone on your exercise equipment. This way, you can get that sense of community and run or ride alongside hundreds of others in the virtual world—and you can do it at your own pace with no perceived judgment. Some newer programs even allow you to interact with the instructor and other runners/riders. Check it out!

In the biking and running worlds, you fortunately still have an opportunity to get outside for your activity while staying at a safe distance from others. You may find that popular parks and trails are busy with many people thinking the same thing, so consider going bright and early or picking a park or trail that you may not have considered before. BikePGH, an organization with a strong community of bikers in the Pittsburgh area, has similarly gotten creative; they send out tips and tricks to bike safely during this time.

We should mention—if you have the space to safely exercise outside, fresh air and a little sunshine can certainly contribute positively to your workout. Take your phone or tablet out with you, and you can still get that virtual experience from your backyard. If you’re missing your workout buddy, you may consider doing your workouts at the same time and video chatting or calling during your workout. Some apps even offer a virtual buddy who cheers you on through your earbuds as you run.

Overall, virtual fitness is fun and customizable. The volume of classes and options out there is so vast, that we’re bringing you part 2 of this article soon to share more. When you’re virtual, you can go at your own pace, interact as much or as little as you want, and get comfy in your favorite workout attire. Join a community, or don’t—it’s all up to you. We hope you stay motivated and fit during your time at home. We’re so inspired by the way the fitness community has come together in light of the global situation. UPMC Sports Medicine will still be here for your performance, prevention, and treatment needs when you emerge from your home. Until then, we wish you well and a wonderful workout.

To schedule an appointment or learn more about UPMC Sports Medicine, please call 1-855-93-SPORT (77678) or visit

About Sports Medicine

An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.