Oct 15, 2020

Healthier Together Series: Employee Fitness Classes Go Virtual

COVID-19 may have forced fitness facilities to close temporarily – but Medtronic employees found new ways to stay in shape.

Amanda YouTube2
Patrica Walker(left), a Medtronic Sr. Engineering Quality Manager, poses with her fitness instructor Amanda Patterson (on screen), after a virtual workout.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new and unstable world. But that doesn’t mean healthy habits need to fall by the wayside. Healthier Together is a series that dives into how Medtronic employees around the globe are making positive lifestyle changes during the pandemic. In each article, we’ll continue to highlight how our people are leading, living, and working differently in these challenging times.

For 20 years, Kim Schrippe, project coordinator in Medtronic’s Restorative Therapies Group (RTG), has made it part of her daily routine to exercise at the onsite Wellness Center in the Medtronic campus where she works. When COVID-19 forced that fitness facility to close temporarily, the Minnesota-based project coordinator wondered how she'd stay in shape.

The company’s Healthier Together team — well-being specialists on staff at all Medtronic fitness centers — quickly realized Kim wasn’t alone. Trainers, who had been offering in-person exercise classes during lunch hours, decided to take their lessons online and offer them for free to all employees globally by creating the Onsite Wellness Center’s YouTube channel. Today, the Healthier Together team hosts as many as 10 virtual "live" classes each week.

Kim Schrippe
Kim Schrippe takes online classes several days a week from the comfort of her dining room.

Schrippe was among the first to take advantage of the virtual offerings. "I love the flexibility it offers," she says, noting she takes the online classes four to five days a week in her dining room. "If my work schedule doesn't allow me to take a class that day, I can choose any of the recorded classes and do them when I have time."

New videos are added daily to the growing library of more than 300 recorded fitness classes — including strength training, cardio, and yoga classes. Videos are not just focused on physical fitness, but mental and emotional health as well, with many videos on self-care, mindfulness and meditation. Wellness Center team members are also available to join employees' virtual business meetings to lead short stretching breaks, ​​​quick workouts, or brief meditations.

"We want to spread well-being to as many people as we can," said Amanda Patterson, the Wellness Center's senior manager who also teaches some of the classes. "It's been so cool to have someone overseas taking a class with me who I would never have had the experience of getting in front of before."

Kelly Thorne, a senior clinical marketing manager in Switzerland, has taken to the Latin hip-hop dance classes Patterson’s team offers.

Amanda Patterson Teaching
Amanda Patterson teaches Latin Hip Hop, one of the hundreds of online fitness class videos offered virtually through the Medtronic Wellness Centers YouTube Channel.

"I moved to Switzerland three weeks before we went into full lockdown due to coronavirus, which didn't give me any time to find local fitness classes," said Thorne. "Most of the fitness studios are all still closed five months later, so these classes have been a great opportunity to keep up a fitness regimen."

Learn more by visiting the company’s Healthier Together YouTube page.