When lockdown struck earlier this year, BFCitC’s Healthy Lifestyles programme, along with many of the charity’s projects, was required to go ‘virtual’. Gone were the weekly physical activity sessions and in its place the charity adapted the programme to be delivered online.
Throughout May and June, BFCitC’s Health team supported 109 individuals through closed Facebook groups, sharing exercise routines, recipes, advice and motivation, in addition to weekly live workouts and mindfulness videos.
With a focus on the group’s physical and mental wellbeing, the results have been positive with 73% saying they felt more active afterwards, 92% feeling more relaxed and 76% expressing they felt happier upon completion of the programme.
One participant who participated in the programme over lockdown is Simon.
Simon said: “I have always struggled with my weight and have been on the larger side since my late teens, at my heaviest I was 24 stone in my early twenties.
“I have joined gyms in the past and been motivated and would lose a stone or two but then the weight loss would slow and I would become depressed and disheartened and lose focus, ending up back in old routines of no exercise and a lot of fast food and alcohol.
“I have always been embarrassed about being big so bought larger clothes to hide the fact, but as I got bigger the X’s got longer and the choice got smaller and smaller until I found I was buying clothes due to the fact they were the right fit not because they were what I wanted.”
When lockdown restrictions resulted in the closure of gyms earlier this year, Simon spotted a post on Facebook advertising BFCitC’s Healthy Lifestyles programme and decided to sign up with his wife. The couple, who have three young children, found being able to take part in the programme at home useful, as they couldn’t attend the gym at the same time due to childcare.
After completing the programme and feeling more focused and motivated, he and his son picked up the Couch to 5k challenge and began running outside more.
The group aspect of the programme moving online is important, with participants actively encouraging each other ‘virtually’ on the Facebook group.
“I regularly post my progress in the group and everybody is always welcoming, complimentary and encouraging which makes me want to try harder. We’ve shared some good recipes too, especially the fake away one!”
With the help of the programme Simon has seen his fitness levels increase, stating: “Since lockdown I have been on regular runs and have managed to not only complete a 5k but have managed to complete 10ks on a regular basis.
“I attempted a 15k run a few weeks ago and even though I achieved it, it was extremely difficult, and I was at my limit.
“My new goals are to continue to lose weight as I still have a long way to go with this and make my goal weight of 14 stone and to complete a half marathon.”
Healthy Lifestyles Manager, Charlotte Griffiths said: “Simon has done fantastically well on the programme and we’re so pleased he’s happy with his progress.
“Over the last few months, we’ve had to adapt the way we deliver our programmes but the Healthy Lifestyles programme going virtual has proved a real success!
“The group really bonded, and it was great to see them benefit from all the advice and support. In fact, following the end of the programme, 56 participants joined the graduate Facebook group to continue to share their successes and motivate each other. They are also currently taking part in a challenge to see how many kilometres they can cover collectively throughout August – walking, running or cycling. After 16 days, 22 of the participants had already covered 1317km! It’s brilliant to see them continuing their fitness journeys.”
For more information or to sign up to our next Healthy Lifestyles programme starting 5th October 2020, contact Charlotte Griffiths on email@example.com.