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Fun and fitness for first responder families in lockdown

Fortem offered a mix of virtual fitness classes throughout lockdown, and a real highlight has been our lunchtime dance fit classes.

Giving first responders an opportunity to (box)step outside their comfort zones, those working from home and juggling home learning welcomed the chance to get moving and grooving.

The half-hour lunchtime class included a brief warm-up, learning three basic dance routines and a stretch. Motivated by the tunes of J-Lo, Bruno Mars and even Spice Girls, it gave participants of all ages the opportunity to have fun and get active.

“It was pretty special to see all these smiling faces – of all ages and from various agencies – on the screen, coming together to enjoying the physical, mental and social benefits,” says Fortem Community Engagement Coordinator Caroline Lockyer. “Most people hadn’t done any type of dance class before. I love that everyone just got involved and had a go!”

Following the principles of the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, we had a good cardio workout, learned a new skill, and enjoyed the opportunity to connect with other people – all from our living rooms.

The feedback was positive, with more and more registrations trickling in each week as the participants referred their colleagues and encouraged them to join the fun.

“What was initially a four-week program ended up being extended for over three months, due to popular demand,” says Caroline.

One participant said she found the classes to be fun, supportive and accessible: “It was great that the instructor gave options for different levels of fitness/ability.”

A few people commented that they were more motivated to be active and try new things. One participant noted: “The class has made me want to engage more in activities outside of my comfort zone. Never before have I tried dancing, or thought I would. It has been super fun and let us have a good laugh, while being active.”