Keeping fit—and feeling the power of community—with online workouts and fitness challenges

A woman stretches during a virtual yoga session

As we stay at home to protect ourselves during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all reminded of the importance of two critical things: being active and remaining connected to a supportive community. 

These two components are especially vital to a few of the nonprofits in the Stand Together community that use the power of activity and staying connected to have a significant impact on the lives of those in addiction recovery, the formerly homeless, individuals exiting incarceration, and more. 

These nonprofits have taken their work online, creating fun and effective programs to keep the communities they support fit and mentally focused. And now you can learn more and see in their efforts first-hand. 

Here’s a snapshot of what’s available and how you can join: 

Aiding recovery through community

The Phoenix has helped more than 33,000 people recover from substance use disorders since 2006. For people in recovery, sharing experiences and drawing strength and courage from one another is vital. Founder Scott Strode said, “For so many of us in our own addiction and recovery stories, that isolation was so much a part of our struggle. We want to make sure that we don’t slide back into that.” 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Phoenix has created a vibrant calendar of online activities for those in recovery delivered via Zoom. Anyone is welcome to join who has been sober for at least 48 hours. Start your day with an hour of meditation at 7 a.m. You can also participate in bodyweight classes, yoga, and “move your body” classes throughout the day, capped with an online recovery social hour at 8 p.m., followed by a 10 p.m. bodyweight class for night owls. For live-streamed classes, you can sign up here. Live-streamed programming is backed by a library of pre-recorded classes and activities on YouTube including functional fitness, yoga, and meditation, along with social-connect drop-ins and book club meetings. Check out the pre-recorded classes here on YouTube and subscribe to the channel.

Running to end homelessness

Since 2007, Back on My Feet (BoMF) has been combatting homelessness through the power of running, community support, essential employment, and housing resources. As part of its program, Back on My Feet members who are experiencing homelessness commit to waking up at 5 a.m. three times a week to run alongside their fellow members and BoMF staff. With a community running alongside them and cheering them on through life’s hurdles, participants are able to build the strength and confidence to transform their lives. 

With the COVID-19 crisis limiting its traditional program, Back on My Feet wants to provide that same supportive environment from a distance. BoMF’s #PowerOfUs Virtual Fitness Challenge aims to keep participants race-ready with weekly workout videos and emails. Register at Four weeks of online activities costs $25, which supports BOMF’s work and essential services for members.

Personal training by and for the formerly incarcerated

The mission of A Second U Foundation is to educate formerly incarcerated individuals and help them find work by becoming certified personal trainers. A Second U Foundation seeks to eliminate the number of people returning to prison after release through opportunity, empowerment, and community. 

Now the organization is offering the community a chance to support its formerly incarcerated personal trainers by signing up for home exercise programming through group or one-on-one sessions via the Zoom platform. They are also offering free online personal trainer packages to formerly incarcerated individuals who want to get their career started in the fitness industry. Interested individuals can contact A Second U Foundation through the website or by e-mailing

Now is a great time to get off the couch, get your body moving and those endorphins pumping.  These are just a few ideas to get you started connecting with groups who are making a difference – keeping us all active and connected in a time when we need it more than ever before.  

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