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Fitness Coach Streams His Last Virtual Workout For Kids As Schools Reopen In London

NOEL KING, HOST:

As life slowly gets back to normal, there's one pandemic ritual that a lot of kids and parents are going to miss.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

JOE WICKS: Come on, let's go, everybody - three, two, one. Let's go. So let's go - 30 seconds and we're off lifting those knees up, running on the spot, go as fast as you can.

KING: This is The Body Coach. His real name is Joe Wicks. He's a fitness instructor. And a year ago, he started a daily exercise class for kids on YouTube.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Which is called "PE With Joe." The idea was to help kids stay active during the lockdown.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

WICKS: Because I know this is a weird time we're in. We're going to get through it. Everything's going to be fine. We're going to return to normal, and we're going to all be reconnected again.

INSKEEP: "PE With Joe" has received more than 100 million views on YouTube in the past year.

KING: In part because it turned out that parents liked the workouts just as much as their kids did.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

WICKS: We're getting some squats. Right, show me - down, up, down, up. Can we spin around like a ballerina? Ready? Spin me like a ballerina.

KING: His classes are more than just stretches and lunges and jumping jacks.

INSKEEP: Wicks dresses up in costumes and offers quizzes and other games and classes that are frequently interrupted by his own two young children.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

WICKS: Ha.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (Laughter).

WICKS: Ha.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: (Laughter).

WICKS: Turn around and wave and say hello. Wave. Say hello.

It's really about having fun. It's a nice time for people stuck in their tiny little flats or apartments. And they need this kind of vent or outlet to let some of that stress and anxiety out.

KING: But today will be the last "PE With Joe." Schools in London where he lives are reopening on Monday, and he says it seemed like the right time to wrap it up.

WICKS: My mission is going to continue, but I've been so - I'm so tired. I've never worked this hard in my life. I've done so many workouts. It's time to kind of rest, recover and then to see what happens in the future. You know, I really love that I'm helping people get through a difficult time, and I hope that they can continue to exercise with me.

INSKEEP: Spoiler alert - in the final "PE With Joe," Mr. Wicks says he will be dressed as a duck. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.