Darlington personal trainer says routine is key to positive mental health during social distancing | The Northern Echo

by fitness journalist

Though originally a closed membership group, where Mr Thwaites also hosts question and answer sessions to help people adjust and stay healthy during social distancing, he has also started a second group.

He said: “I started the second group recently to give people something to do.

“This way instead of going stir crazy, which we’re bound to, people can still have a bit of an endorphins release and not just sit in front of the TV.”

The member’s group get workouts twice a day while the isolation group have more of a weekly schedule.

Maintaining positive mental health and nutrition has proved difficult for members, Mr Thwaites said, so the groups also provide people with a community to share tips for staying healthy physically and mentally – which “is more than bicep curls and lifting weights”.

“Many businesses have gone online but I didn’t want to jump in quickly without really thinking what I’d do, but it’s this community feel the gym has that made it clear I should.

“We[Mr Thwaites, his partner and her dad who own the gym] nearly doubled the membership in a few months so I think if we hadn’t of done that, this could be a different story. It has been a big learning curve and we do worry.”

The gym has also had new member join during this period, though money won’t be taken until the physical gym is back open.

Mr Thwaites said staying healthy is not to do with motivation, but routine, and this must not differ during social isolating.

He said: “One of the things I do is tell members my routine. I get up, use the Headspace app, have breakfast, do some work, then it’s time for classes.

“It’s all about keeping yourself busy. Plan your day into segments and focus on small achievable goals.

“If you’re on furlough, you could still go out for your walk and make the most of that, do jobs around the house or a bit of gardening.

“Anything as long as you’re getting fresh air too.”

The personal trainer currently has nine four-week-old Labrador puppies at home, which “make regular appearances during classes”.

“Our clients are even requesting to see them during the workouts, with some saying they’ve only tuned in for the pups,” he added.

Some embers also ran a virtual pub quiz last week, in a bid to keep spirits up.

Search Forge Fitness Isolation on Facebook for more information.

This content was originally published here.

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