This is a great opportunity to take on a new and exciting fitness challenge while helping those in need.
It's now been 12 months since Covid-19 restrictions were first introduced in Ireland and for many it's been the year of the at-home fitness regime. We're all just waiting for the end of this turbulent period in our lives but in the meantime, Focus Ireland is providing us with the ideal opportunity to test how effective those daily workouts have been.
The feeling of hope for light at the end of the tunnel is an all too familiar one for those experiencing homelessness in Ireland and The Next Step, Focus Ireland's Virtual Marathon, will allow you to do your bit while taking on a little fitness challenge for yourself.
Focus Ireland are driven by their fundamental belief that homelessness is wrong. In 2020, the charity helped 810 families out of homelessness, including 4,000 children and by taking on The Next Step, you can help Focus Ireland keep up this vital work.
Basically, throughout April, people are asked to walk, run, jog or stroll the equivalent of 26.2 miles or 42.2 km. When you sign up, Focus Ireland will help you on your journey with a fundraising guide and social media toolkit enabling you to share your progress and request donations from your network.
Sounds like a challenge you'd like to take on? You take The Next Step by following this link and below you'll see five really simple fitness tips to get you in shape before you start your journey. No fancy gym equipment necessary!
It's been difficult time for everyone so let's start off with something simple. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, legs bent and hands on your thighs. As you jump up, drive your hands straight above your head and extend your entire body. Land softly, reposition your feet and repeat 15 times.
Another old reliable. Standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands down by your sides, lower yourself by bending your knees with your thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure to keep your back straight and repeat 15 times.
Let's move things out into the garden, or failing that, the local park. Place your hands on a garden chair or park bench and extend your legs fully behind you. Bend your arms and lower chest towards the chair or bench and push up. Repeat 12 times.
This one is great for the calves and quads. Find a smooth surface that is at least six feet long - so maybe the edge of a grassy area or pavement. Raise your arms out to sides and walk across the "tightrope" until you get to the end (or your reach six feet). Turn on the balls of your feet and go back in the opposite direction. Repeat for three minutes.
The 5km challenge
Let's spread things out a bit. While Covid-19 restrictions currently only permit us to our exercise within 5km of our homes, that still provides plenty of space to keep up our fitness.
Find some time every day, whether it means setting your alarm early or going out at lunchtime, and start walking or running more and more each day. You can start as small as 200 metres before moving on to 500 metres the next day, then 1km, 1.5km, 2km and so on. Whatever you're comfortable with!
Remember, the clocks will be going forward on March 28, leaving long evenings that would be ideal for taking on Focus Ireland's The Next Step challenge!
Let's get on our feet and help those experiencing homelessness in Ireland.