Schoolchildren have been boosting their fitness during lockdown and on their return to the classroom, thanks to the help of video-sessions provided by fitness professionals.
Youngsters who attend Christ Church C of E Primary and Nursery School in Newark have been getting extra active, after the school snapped-up the opportunity to benefit from special exercise programmes created by the team at Anytime Fitness in the town.
Anytime Fitness Newark is under new ownership. Its managers intended to relaunch the Castle Gate business earlier this year but were delayed by the latest lockdown. So manager Alex Bendin and assistant manager Tim Barlow have been busy making videos for adult use, recruiting new members and getting the redecorated and sanitised gym ready to re-open on April 12.
Alex said: “As part of our behind-the-scenes work, we also invited schools to get in touch if they would like us to produce exercise videos specifically tailored for their pupils.
Tim added: “We are both passionate about encouraging people of all ages to keep active and the earlier we can encourage young people to enjoy exercise the better. We are delighted that Christ Church School wanted to work with us.”
Teacher Lee Armstrong said: “As the school’s PE lead, I am always looking for ways to maximise pupils’ engagement with physical activity, both within and outside of the school setting. I saw this as an opportunity for us to complement the PE that was already on offer to children at home, rather than substitute the PE already happening in school.
“In common with most schools, we encouraged children to do “PE with Joe” (Joe Wicks), but the offer from Anytime Fitness gave us an excellent opportunity to give the children schooling at home, an alternative choice.”
Lee said the school recognises the benefits of exercise for young people’s physical and mental wellbeing. As well as delivering PE lessons, Christ Church staff had recently decided to devote extra time to physical activity.
“We set about the #reachforthesky challenge, whereby children at home and at school were encouraged to climb – by walking up and down flights of stairs and using doorsteps and chairs for exercise. We could then convert their accumulated steps into measurements which equated to those of buildings and mountains around the world.
“Anytime Fitness telephoned us just after this, and it felt good to be able to offer the children a choice of exercises to get them moving. Their video content was good and provided the perfect starting point.
“The children were familiar with some exercises, so the video was immediately relatable. Some exercises which were new to them, which meant they were particularly engaged. As soon as the videos arrived, complete with our school logo, the children became extra excited!
“We were delighted that they were personalised and that we could give specific feedback to the gym. We used our internal communications system Class Dojo to deliver them and we posted a tweet thanking Anytime Fitness for its work.”
The Victoria Street school caters for youngsters from the age of three – who were able to see the videos at home and follow them with their parents. Pupils aged five to eight years old were able to do the exercises at home. Lee continues to use them in twice-weekly lessons now they have returned to the classroom.
“The children love being active and taking part. There’s no doubt that doing so promotes a healthy lifestyle, which can only be a good thing as obesity across all demographics continues to rise,” said Lee.
“We hope to be able to forge a strong community link with the team at Anytime Fitness that can last into the future as we continue to grow as a school, after our move to a new site on the town’s Middlebeck Estate in September.”
Pupils’ drawings are featured on banners at the site where the new school is being built.
“We feel very fortunate to have been offered opportunities to work with Anytime Fitness and have discussed the possibility of a wide range of collaborations, from family boot camps to staff wellbeing.”