Published May 21, 2020
Lisa Jane Jacobsen, MD, hasn’t let social distancing stop her from working out with her colleagues at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
Jacobsen, associate dean for medical curriculum and clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, was leading weekly cardio aerobics sessions in the Jacob School atrium before the COVID-19 crisis.
Now, she’s made some videos to help her workout pals “stay strong and healthy while we all shelter at home!”
Jacobsen became certified as a group fitness instructor in 2001 because she thought it would be fun to offer her own classes for others.
“I believe strongly in the value of exercise and want others to make it a priority in their own lives so that they can prevent illness, stay strong and even improve illnesses that they may currently have,” she says.
“I really enjoy the social aspect of working out with others and the feeling of community.”
The look of “community” has shifted in the past few months due to the ongoing social distancing guidelines during the current health pandemic.
“During these difficult times of self-isolation, it has been very hard for people to find alternatives to their regular exercise regimens, whether that was simply walking a lot at work or going to the gym to do a challenging class,” Jacobsen says.
“This is my way of trying to bring a simple way to get some exercise inside the home and I was hoping people might try to do it on a regular schedule,” she adds.
Jacobsen says regular exercise is so important for everyone, but especially during this time when usual daily activities don’t require people to move around a lot.
“Many of us spend too much time during this forced self-isolation sitting around and walking very little. The gyms are closed,” she says. “Our usual routines are turned upside down and it can feel daunting to try to structure in a new exercise routine and find a place in the house where it can be done.”
“It’s really important though, for maintaining our health and keeping our muscles strong,“ Jacobsen adds. “We need to find ways to expend energy, as many of us are much more sedentary during this isolation. We’re eating more than we usually do and we don’t want to gain too much weight.”
Due to her schedule, Jacobsen was only able to offer the in-person workout class at the Jacobs School once a week. A few months ago, she added a new muscle strengthening class with weights in addition to the regular cardio-dance aerobic workout.
The classes are open to students, faculty, staff, researchers, clinicians and anyone else on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus (BNMC) who wants to participate.
Jacobsen wanted to keep the momentum going so she created the video workout classes.
“There are a lot of workout videos out there now and that is great, but finding the right one may seem too difficult for some,” Jacobsen says. “I was hoping that those people who had expressed interest in our Jacobs School atrium workouts in the past and had put their names on our Google Doc — we have about 150 — would find this an easier way to bring exercise back into their life or keep up their usual routine during this time.”
“Also, when someone you know is encouraging you to participate, that can be motivating, even if it is in a video,” she adds. “I think, in some ways, it does make one feel like they are actually in the room with someone you know when you recognize them and that can make it a lot more fun.”
“I’ve had people tell me that it felt like I was right there in their living room with them! Maybe it makes some people feel less isolated, like they have a friend to work out with.”
Jacobson has made videos of her cardio-dance aerobic workout and her sets & reps muscle strengthening workout.
Have a yoga mat ready for both and free weights for sets & reps.
For more videos, visit’s Jacobsen’s YouTube channel.
People from the Jacobs School or those working elsewhere on the BNMC who would like to join a class in person when UB returns to campus, or receive future videos can add their name to this Google Doc.