Coronavirus: Calgary doctor leads workout as people wait in line at Costco

As stores restrict the number of shoppers and mandate physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, a Calgary doctor took the opportunity to turn a Costco lineup into a workout session on Friday.

Dr. David Keegan stood in line with everyone else, standing about two metres apart in the maze of barricades.

“It was actually a bit colder than I had anticipated. I decided after about 20 minutes or so, I would just do some lunges to warm myself up. Then I thought, ‘Hey, why don’t we turn this into something bigger and cooler?’” he told Global News on Sunday.

Keegan shouted out to people about the workout idea and they were willing.

With nothing else to do but wait, the group did jumping jacks, lunges, squats, core work and pushups against barricades.

“It just felt like something could happen and you never know. All I did was bring the spark,” Keegan said. “But everybody, almost everybody engaged and that was cool. Within seconds, like maybe a second, it was clear this is going to be fun.

“It just was a fun spark in a very difficult time.”

Keegan said it was delightful to see everyone’s day boosted by the exercise session.

“It was fun to have this totally random thing kind of come out of nowhere and just lift my day, for sure, and I think it kind of lifted everybody’s day,” he said.

“I mean, before that happened, pretty much nobody was smiling in that whole lineup… But, boy, I think everyone was smiling afterwards.”

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Even though there is something comedic about the lineup workout, Keegan said it’s about being human.

“We’re all looking for something more than the rigid structures we’re having to work within. So what can we do that’s kind of fun, social and fitness-oriented within that? So I think that’s why it’s touched a lot of people’s interest,” he said, referencing the 355,000 views that video of the workout had online by Sunday evening.

Prioritizing fitness

Keegan said his family — his wife, who is also a doctor, and their three kids — are prioritizing fitness during the pandemic.

“As humans, the best things we can do for our health are to exercise our bodies, exercise our brains and exercise our social skills on a regular basis,” he said.

“So in this environment, it’s even more important to stay physically strong.”

The doctor believes exercise is more important than any prescription he could ever write.

“Medications have their role but exercise, bar none, is the single best intervention I can help people with — helping point them in the right direction for whatever condition they have or are trying to prevent,” he said.

Keegan hopes the video will inspire people to do what they can to be active, strong and social within the crisis’ constraints and take care of their physical health, even when the pandemic is over.

“We’re hoping that it spreads the word, and more importantly, even beyond COVID-19. What can we do so that throughout our lives, we can sneak in good physical activity, challenge our brains and challenge our social skills on a regular basis?” he said.

Keegan is encouraging people to exercise in line with the hashtag #lineupworkout, posting a video of themselves working out and donating money to a place in need.

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