Funds for virtual fitness coach in lockdown

Four people pose for camera
Pictured from left are Derrytresk Running Club members, Cathy-Ann McLernon, Ciara Ryan and Eamon McNally along with Amy Hall, Good Relations Officer from the Housing Executive. Funding from the Housing Executive provided one-to-one virtual training.

A virtual personal fitness coach helped members of Derrytresk Community Group stay active during lockdown, thanks to funding from the Housing Executive.

Community Grant Funding of £475 enabled members to receive personal one-to-one running coaching that set challenging goals, an individual workout plan, and mentoring support.

Over 50 participants make up the running group who come from Washing Bay and the Coalisland area, including social housing residents. 

Local people who have not traditionally participated in sport, but took up running to enable fitness, enjoy what there is to offer.

Up until lockdown was enforced, members from the group were meeting up to three times a week to run.

However, as Covid-19 restrictions took effect, some members continued to run solo, but many others lost confidence and became overwhelmed with the stresses of coping.

As a way for members to manage during lockdown, virtual runs helped with peer support and overall fitness encouragement.

Having a personal one-to-1 coach for a one-month-period, improved overall health and well-being, bringing members back to pre-lockdown levels of engagement, fitness and beyond.

Chairperson of Derrytresk Community Group, Maura Brooks, thanked the Housing Executive for the recent funding allocation.

She said; “We were so delighted to receive this support from the Housing Executive. Lockdown has put severe pressure on mental health and physical well-being and runners had lost their mojo.

“The one-to-one coaching was great to keep me motivated to go running during a really difficult time during the lockdown.

“With three children home-schooling and as we were working from home it was becoming hard to keep going.  It really helped me stay healthy and positive, and the coaching justified having ‘me time’ for exercise".

Maura said the virtual coaching also provided her with structure to her day during a somewhat chaotic lockdown.

She added; “It was so hard to stay motivated. I found the plan challenging but it left me on a high after every hard workout and I achieved a personal best!

“The coaching was perfect timing for me and I am now planning a run in memory of my mum who passed away last year. The coach gave me the assurance that I could do it!”

Sharon Crooks, the Housing Executive’s Mid Ulster Area Manager, said she was delighted funding from the Community Grant Scheme helped local people maintain fitness levels during lockdown.

She added; “Providing one-to-one fitness coaching for members of the running group is an excellent example of how the Housing Executive’s Community Grant Scheme can be used to improve health and well-being.

“The funding also helped members of the running group reconnect during the latest lockdown using virtual technology to enjoy the benefits of personal coaching and social interaction.

“It is wonderful to hear such positive stories like Maura’s who reached her personal best during lockdown with help from the virtual coach and is now organising a run in her mother’s memory.”

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