Our online REACH workouts for all to enjoy
We have recently launched a new online exercise option for local residents, targeted specifically at members of the OCL and Oldham community who may have reduced mobility, underlying health conditions or are very new to exercise.
REACH is our exercise referral scheme, and new virtual REACH chair-based workouts are being hosted live on our Facebook page by our Health & Wellbeing Officer Jason Bailey, three times a week at 11am. They have been hugely successful with up to 1,000 viewers per class, either watching live or catching up afterwards in their own time.
The chair-based workouts are targeted primarily at OCL’s REACH clients, who usually attended tailored exercise classes at one of OCL’s leisure centre. Many have health conditions such as heart or lung disease, which means they’re currently shielding at home. The online classes are being offered as a way to help them remain active in a safe, structured way that is suitable for their fitness level.
Jason Bailey explains: “We’ve always been a community-orientated leisure trust. We are a lifeline for the community during normal times – now, residents need us even more. Most REACH clients are over 60 and have underlying conditions. The internet is awash with online workouts but I haven’t seen any that are pitched at the right level, intensity and duration for people with health issues so we decided to create our own that anyone, even people with chronic medical conditions, can safely follow.”
Once participants have ‘liked’ our Facebook page, they are automatically notified when a live class starts. The classes run for 30 minutes and are a mix of cardiovascular and resistance training with lots of balance, mobility and flexibility exercises added in. Participants can do the exercises stood up, seated or a combination of both depending on their medical condition and current level of fitness.
Physically it’s important, but socially it’s vital, too. Jason says: “Lots of our participants would come to classes just to see a friendly face during their week – that’s been taken away from them. We’ve noticed that having a session to log onto at a set time gives people some purpose – many REACH clients are bereaved so they’re stuck at home on their own. By providing an online version of our classes we can check in, ensure they’re ok and signpost them towards some additional help if they’re not.”
The classes are also on offer, free of charge, to anyone wishing to give them a try and you can watch the videos on our website from the day after too.
Sharon was referred to REACH in 2019 after being diagnosed with Chronic Obstetric Pulmonary Disorder and, after her initial 16-week course, found her strength, stamina and sociability all increased. Sharon says: “I have been shielded due to my chronic condition and I was thrilled to learn that I would be able to continue my REACH exercise classes during lockdown. The live classes have enabled me to continue with my fitness programme and have also helped my mental health as I’ve been able to keep in contact with other people from the scheme. I was grateful to Jason for delivering me a resistance band free of charge to help me with the exercises we do in the live classes.”