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Virtual Zumba: Fitness instructor gives new meaning to ‘SELFish’

Photo shows a woman sitting in front of her tablet and music speaker smiling for the camera with the words, "Saved by Zumba" on her workout shirt.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Symone Wilkerson, a 638th Supply Chain Management Group inventory management specialist and instructor with the Robins Air Force Base Fitness Center, gives multiple online fitness classes each week. When the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic forced fitness centers to close and people to begin social distancing, Wilkerson took her classes online to allow Airmen, dependents, civilians, retirees, and anyone who was interested, to workout with her while remaining in their homes. (courtesy photo)

Photo shows a family, father, son and wife, doing Zumba in their house.

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- The Buchanan family works out along Symone Wilkerson (not pictured), a 638th Supply Chain Management Group inventory management specialist and Robins Fitness Center instructor, during Wilkerson's online Zumba class in their home in April 2020. When the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic forced fitness centers to close and people to begin social distancing, Wilkerson took her class online to allow Airmen, dependents, civilians, retirees, and anyone who was interested, to workout with her while remaining in their homes. (courtesy photo)

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --

Staying physically active is extremely important and challenging, especially in times of social distancing caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

One Zumba instructor at the Robins Air Force Base Fitness Center took her class virtual.

Photos shows a woman sitting in front of her tablet with fitness instructor giving a class on the screen.
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Rhodora Buchanan, a spouse at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, connects online with Symone Wilkerson, 638th Supply Chain Management Group inventory management specialist and an instructor at the Robins Fitness Center, during Wilkerson's online Zumba class in April 2020. When the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic forced fitness centers to close and people to begin social distancing, Wilkerson took her class online to allow Airmen, dependents, civilians, retirees, and anyone who was interested, to workout with her while remaining in their homes. (courtesy photo)
Photos shows a woman sitting in front of her tablet with fitness instructor giving a class on the screen.
Online Zumba: Fitness instructor gives new meaning to ‘SELFish’
ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Rhodora Buchanan, a spouse at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, connects online with Symone Wilkerson, 638th Supply Chain Management Group inventory management specialist and an instructor at the Robins Fitness Center, during Wilkerson's online Zumba class in April 2020. When the Coronavirus Disease 2019 pandemic forced fitness centers to close and people to begin social distancing, Wilkerson took her class online to allow Airmen, dependents, civilians, retirees, and anyone who was interested, to workout with her while remaining in their homes. (courtesy photo)
Photo By: courtesy photo
VIRIN: 200429-F-F3494-1002
Symone Wilkerson, 638th Supply Chain Management Group inventory management specialist and Zumba instructor said, “Due to the pandemic, I decided to take the in studio physical classes virtual to allow Airmen, dependents, civilians and retired veterans the ability to still workout.”

The class selected a word for 2020 to help them focus.

“Our class word is SELFish,” Wilkerson said. “SELF is capitalized because it really emphasizes what our word represents. So many times we focus on others - our families, friends, etc. – to make them happy or attend to their needs, so in 2020 we made a pact to focus on ourselves more.

“We aren't putting our families and friends on the back end, we are just putting our self-worth, health, and mental state a step ahead this time,” Wilkerson continued. “We all need to take some me time sometimes.”

The classes are helping instructors and Team Robins members and their families stay physically active as people practice social distancing due to COVID-19.

“This online dance class immeasurably helped coping with the stay-at-home measures and managing stress,” said David Buchanan, 78th Force Support Squadron vehicle control officer. “I think it is notable that our community is helping people succeed with the current situation and keeping fit.

Buchanan’s family joins him on the virtual dance floor.

His wife, Rhodora Buchanan, said, “We are thankful for Symone’s motivation and inspiration in keeping us moving in spite of the fact that it’s not in a gym setting. We observe social distancing but with virtual dancing, it helps us to be less anxious, makes us happy, and burns calories at the same time. It’s a win-win for all of us.” 

Their son, Josh, was sent home early from college because of the pandemic. He now has a fitness outlet he enjoys.

“The online Zumba class is a great innovation for friends to get together to dance for physical activity and relieve any stress from the day,” he said. “Symone’s guidance and positivity adds to the full experience of the class. I personally enjoy the class and appreciate the time she takes to make this an opportunity for others.”

With a passion for dance that started when she was playing basketball, Wilkerson’s class has reached beyond Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

“This is a growing workout activity, which connects people in all sorts of ways,” said Wilkerson. “I have students not just from Robins AFB and Houston County, but from other cities and counties in Middle Georgia and reaching as far as Chicago, D.C., and Rochester, New York.”

While creating an environment where everyone is online for the same reason, it is a time for her students to let loose.

“There is absolutely no judging in class, no shyness, no self-doubt,” Wilkerson said. “I love when I see my students with their eyes closed and singing, feeling the music and in their own zone.”

Virtual Zumba brings a sense of normalcy to a situation that is not normal.

“I’m always excited when Zumba comes online because I get to dance with my family and the other people I normally see at the base gym,” said Bryce Buchanan, Warner Robins city engineer.

“Zumba again, is more than a workout, we are our own family,” Wilkerson said.

The Zumba classes are free. If you are interested and want more information you may visit: https://www.facebook.com/Zumba.Symone

Virtual class times:

Monday at 4:30 p.m.- Zumba
Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon - Beat Body (30 min. abs, glutes and legs)
Every other Wednesday at 7:15pm - Zumba
Sunday Fundays at 2 p.m.- Zumba