Breaking a Virtual Sweat

Students and staff attend a virtual work out session with a local fitness instructor Friday, May 1.

Avery Brundige, Features Editor

KALOS Experience founder Julia Harkleroad, at the request of Social Studies Department Chair Jennifer Brown-Howerton, hosted an at-home workout via Zoom Friday, May 1 for students and staff.

Nearly 20 members of the faculty, staff and student body got their KALOS on from home along with Harkleroad. The dynamic exercise, engaging all parts of the mind and body, was a refreshing change of pace for those stuck at home, according to junior Anna McQueeny.

“I felt so energized and refreshed after the Kalos workout with Julia,” McQueeny said. “It was really refreshing to be able to do something that got me moving a lot, opposed to having to sit around the house all day.”

The KALOS Experience is a combination of cardio intervals, yoga, pilates, qigong, meditation and dynamic stretching, according to Harkleroad. She and business partner Wendy Zoog opened their doors after they recognized the gap in Kansas City’s fitness culture, a gap they filled with KALOS.

“It is different from other disciplines because you move in all planes of motion,” Harkleroad said. “You elevate and lower the heart rate and breath rate, you don’t stretch stagnantly but rather dynamically, you meditate multiple times, there is no competition between students, you make sound to connect with yourself and master regulation of the nervous system and there is no discussion of weight, calorie burn or body image.”

The Zoom meeting was co-hosted by Brown-Howerton, who attended Harkleroad’s classes before businesses were shut down in light of COVID-19. Brown-Howerton has organized multiple lunch-and-learn seminars this year focused on women’s mental and physical health.

“I have been to several KALOS classes and love them. I follow them on Instagram and just reached out to see if Julia or her partner would be interested in teaching a class at Sion,” Brown-Howerton said. “She agreed and we got it scheduled.”

Students and faculty are encouraged to stay active as the stay-at-home orders play out. Harkleroad and her KALOS Experience staff are offering online memberships until Johnson County reopens and it is safe to exercise together. Working out and staying active, even indoors, is beneficial to anyone struggling in isolation, according to Harkleroad.

“Connecting with movement, music and students is totally therapeutic. Having something to work on that I know will make people feel stronger and brighter gives me so much energy and motivation,” Harkleroad said. “Getting to work on creating the video online membership with Wendy has helped both of us keep our chins up and keep working toward something and collaborating which both of us credit as a saving grace these last seven weeks.”