The physical benefits of exercise are the main motivating factor for most people to exercise, but that’s far from all you get from breaking a sweat. Exercise can improve your mental wellbeing, and group classes are a way to connect with others. This can be especially helpful when recovering from a severe health condition.
Scott Britton is a co-founder of Move Forward Gym in Exeter, where people recovering from cancer or suffering from mental illness can exercise for free.
“Our Move Forward program started about three years ago in Northern Ireland with the simple concept of providing more support for cancer patients who have completed their primary care,” says Britton.
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The Move Forward courses are also offered through free five-week memberships for blue light workers and people with mental health problems who have been advised by doctors to try exercise as a possible treatment.
“A lot of people are dealing with negativity and uncertainty right now,” says Britton. “The classes offer community and support with a common goal. It’s a small, achievable daily gain. When people are depressed, it is very difficult to see positive results, and when you complete our training you have the opportunity to mark a success. It’s also just about having people you can reach and be with that you don’t have emotional responsibility for like you do with family and friends. “
Nine minute workout forward
The workouts at Move Forward are designed to be accessible. It uses exercises of many variations so that they can be adapted to any physical difficulty people have.
“They’re workouts that you don’t have to think about or plan a lot about, which is a relief for people,” says Britton. “People may have pent-up aggression or depression and can sweat it out using these classes. It’s a good chance to just lower your head and get your way. “
In Move Forward, the team element of the classes is important. Although you can do the session on your own, it only improves the comfort factor when you can meet someone.
“With Lockdown, a lot of people train at home alone,” says Britton. “There are advantages to being in a group. We often do team workouts where the reps are synced with your partner so you look out for each other – you crouch at the same time, jump at the same time. It adds a fun element and means you can push each other. “
The goal of the workout is to do the following in nine minutes. If you finish early, the reward is to keep doing burpees until the nine minutes are up.
From standing, drop your hands on the outside of your feet, then jump your feet back to land on a high plank, and then jump your feet forward again to your hands and jump straight up. Land gently and repeat.
Lunge or squat
For the lunge, take a big step forward and bend both knees until they are 90 degrees. Then press up again. Switch legs and do a total of 30 reps, not 30 on each leg.
To squat, stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend at your knees and push your hips back to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push back up.
Lunge or squat
Lunge or squat