As afitness guru, Stacey Holland understands the importance of keeping fit and healthy, particularly during a pandemic.
“Covid-19 has helped us all realise the benefits and privilege of being healthy and keeping fit,” Holland told The Saturday Star.
“It enhances the functioning of our immune system and boosts our mental health and functioning. It’s an activity that fosters both relationship-building and self-awareness.”
Holland, a TV presenter and health and wellness architect, says this is particularly true for youth, who have suffered greatly due to the lack of physical activity and sport during the lockdown.
“Being fit can go a long way in relieving the mental fog, depression and anxiety caused by the uncertainty of a pandemic like Covid-19.
“Exercise helps us de-stress and releases good hormones, and is an excellent distraction and a way to focus the mind.”
A recent international study of youth during the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that young people have been hit by a lack of exercise and competition, with results showing a deterioration in their social, mental and physical wellbeing in the absence of sport.
The research, carried out by Birmingham City University (UK), Michigan State University, Illinois State University, and Queen’s University (Canada), showed that nearly 80% of parents surveyed (78%) from various countries such as the US and South Africa, reported a deterioration in their children’s social health and diminished well-being.
Despite gyms reopening, both young and old are still hesitant to return to fitness centres. But Holland has been hard at work with DStv channel SuperSport, developing an exercise programme that families can follow from the comfort of their homes.
Launched last month, and broadcast on Saturdays, ’The Lockdown Exercise Show’ encourages families to exercise together for 20 minutes and includes a vigorous workout.
“Children are becoming more sedentary due to an increase in daily screen time, less movement throughout the day and the convenience of keeping themselves occupied through digital media,” she said.
“The team and I came up with an exercise show format that encourages the entire family to exercise together.” The workout starts with a warm-up, then proceeds to a rigorous workout and ends with a “cool down”.
“Each week we have a new workout, a new sports star guest and two new training companions joining us. The show is 26 minutes long and from that you get a solid 20-minute workout. I’ve incorporated some fun elements into the workouts: there’s an animal- and nature-inspired workout, a sports-inspired one, spelling your name where each letter corresponds to an exercise, a traffic-light themed one, and so much more.”
So far, SuperSport has aired four episodes of the Lockdown Exercise Show. Holland believes a show of this nature is crucial during a pandemic.
“Parents were thrust into a new, daunting and stressful space of having to occupy their children with meaningful activity for many more hours than they have had to before.
“In addition to helping out with school work and homework, parents had to find ways to keep their children entertained within the physical confines of lockdown – no school sports, no after-school activities, no playtime at a friend’s home etc.
“Children are naturally energetic, and ensuring they can extend this energy in healthy ways, for example through exercise, is important for their wellbeing. Coupled with this, parents themselves probably found that being motivated to work out became harder the longer the lockdown lasted.
“It’s become apparent that holistic health is exactly what the world needs to successfully navigate a pandemic. “One needs to be physically, mentally and emotionally/spiritually fit and healthy.”
The show targets those families who are looking to remain active without having to go to the gym.
“Many families have had to make financial sacrifices and adjustments as a result of Covid-19. We’re catering to anyone who has a desire to train with their children. It may be those parents who need some guidance because they don’t know what to do or how to structure a workout for their children; it may be those parents who are otherwise occupied and need a healthy activity to occupy their kids with on a Saturday morning or those who are still reluctant to go back to gym or resume other fitness activities.”
Having already shot four episodes, Holland says she’s had tons of fun on the show.
“Apart from the social distancing and avoiding the urge to high-five everyone, it was really cool. The children and our sports guests brought great energy to each episode.”
The feedback has also been great, says Holland. “There’s been a lot of excitement, and dare I say relief, expressed from parents! It’s still early as we’re into our fourth episode but the feedback has been positive.”
She says the main aim of the show is to get children and families moving again, something they have achieved so far. “We’ve found that children are becoming more and more sedentary and the reasons are nuanced and multifactorial but instead of focusing on the challenges we created a solution.
“We just want to get children and families moving again in a fun way! “Remember, we have a need to exercise as adults because we stopped playing as children.”