Health and Fitness: Newcastle health professionals band together to get keep people moving and connected through coronavirus lockdown – Port Stephens Examiner


If staying active during the first week of our region’s second lockdown did not seem too challenging, another week might.

For me it is the unknown of how long lockdown will last that weighs mostly on my mind.

And, while I have continued to train through at-home workouts or by meeting a designated lockdown fitness buddy, I am missing my gym workouts more than ever right now.

I know I am pushed and challenged further when I have an instructor keeping me accountable throughout the session.

I am sure I am not alone in feeling this way, so it was heartening to hear of a social media fitness challenge launched over the weekend by a group of Newcastle health professionals.

While it is tough time for people who cannot get to the gym for a workout at the moment, it is a super challenging time for gym owners wondering how long their businesses and livelihoods have been put on hold.

They know more than anyone how important movement is for both our physical and mental health and have been putting their own stresses aside to make sure their members stay motivated.

Body Beyond Limits owner and trainer Michael O’Sullivan and Cassie Fagan, who was voted Newcastle’s No.1 PT in 2020, started the #Newcastlefitnessfam “Challenger” workout over the weekend through social media.

The idea, Mr O’Sullivan told me, is to get as many people in the community doing a set workout for a 30-minute period.

Participants record how many rounds they achieve in that time, share a video or a photo of themselves post-workout then tag three to five friends to also take on the movement challenge.

It was kicked off Saturday morning and within hours had many engaged and connected through social media. The hope is to see the initiative go nationwide.

“We are aiming to hit over 10,000 people as a goal and need all of Newcastle’s help to keep this workout going and share the words that will help lift someone’s day,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“If you can’t do the exercise just record a lap around the block for time and challenge your self each day during lockdown.”

It is a great initiative to not only provide motivation for members of the community to keep moving but to also keep them connected with others.

A gym provides so much more than just a place to work out. It brings people together and many would be missing that and finding being isolated extremely challenging.

Mr O’Sullivan feared some businesses may not survive another extended lockdown period and hoped community members could continue to show their support for one another and for their gyms through online programs.

If you are looking for inspiration this week, try #Newcastlefitfam “Challenger”.

Send your health and fitness news to Renee Valentine is a journalist, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.