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Fitness instructor shares tips on how to keep exercising with mental health issues

FITNESS instructor Katie Barfoot has done her part to help people maintain their sanity during the pandemic with outdoor exercise sessions.

And she plans to continue through the summer even if the restrictions on gatherings are lifted.

“It’s something that fascinates me and I also bring something to the community. The fact that it takes so little of me but really helps people is great, ”she said.

“It’s nice to go out and after class you feel good. People enjoy social interaction because they are stuck at home and that is something to look forward to. ”

She teaches low-impact aerobics classes for beginners and those with injuries.

Every Wednesday, the group meets at the Eldene Playground for a 45-minute stretch, flexibility and endurance session.

Katie, from Park South, started her own fitness business five years ago. She also works in the field as a lecturer in psychology and nutrition.

Because it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, she wants to share her tips for people who find it hard to exercise.

“Half the battle is getting out to do it. People say, “Well, if I had a little more time, I would.” But people have had more time this year to work from home, and many haven’t. It’s not a question of time, it’s a question of motivation.

“If people say ‘I’m going to do this then’ and then something else happens and they miss that moment. So a lot of times they just say “OK, I’ll do it tomorrow” and end up doing nothing. ”

Katie said it was important to have someone to meet or work with an instructor rather than trying to exercise on your own.

“It’s a good motivator because it’s another obstacle to keep you from not going,” she explained.

“Especially if someone is in a bad mood or has mental health issues, the motivation just isn’t there. It’s the very little things that help.

“So make sure you’re signed up to join a class, line up your sneakers by the door and get your clothes ready or even go to bed with your workout clothes on so you’re already invested in the exercise.”

Group member Gail Collins said, “It’s great to be able to socialize in a friendly meeting and have a good laugh, which is great for your mental health. ”

“I always say to myself ‘I don’t want to go’. But after doing it, it cheers me up and I’m so glad I did. If you don’t keep yourself in shape, especially at my age, you can crack.

“It’s a fun class with musical movements and it helps us exercise every part of our body which improves our well-being.”

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