There is something about being part of a team. I love exercising - whether it is going for a run, doing a fitness session or event, or playing sport - because of the feelgood endorphins and the obvious health benefits.
But I also love the social connection of being in a group or team environment.
I took part in the Variety Spin 4 Kids at The Forum at the University of Newcastle last week.
It involved teams of up to 10 riding for six hours on a stationary bike and it was fun and encouraging. Everyone I spoke to on the day loved the fact they were getting active, supporting a charity and being part of a team.
Many teams were businesses and companies who had devoted the day to the event and a common topic of conversation was the positive effects it had for workplace morale.
Program to get women active
Northern NSW Football launched a new modified football program across regional NSW last week that encourages women to be active in a supportive group environment.
The Kick-On for Women program is a state first and has been designed to get women fitter through a more social and accessible format of football.
From October 21, it will held across 22 locations throughout metropolitan, regional and remote NSW and has been made possible by a $162,000 grant provided through the Federal Government's Move It Aus program.
NNSW Football chief executive David Eland said the program was initiated from feedback from mums, sisters and girlfriends in football who were interested in the sport but felt self-confidence and time commitment was a barrier.
"By creating safe, comfortable and welcoming environments, women wanting to learn the basic skills of the game can do so in a supportive, judgement-free and social space," he said.
"The 45-minute sessions are often run on Monday evenings, to help women kick-start their week.
"They also run over an eight-week term, the shorter format designed to entice women who are time poor due to family and work commitments to participate in the program."
A pilot of the program in Garden Suburb has attracted 31 new participants and achieved a 68 per cent retention rate.
Kick-On for Women is aimed at females over the age of 16 who are currently not active or have had a period away from organised physical activity and is aligned to Sport Australia's Find Your 30 campaign.
Leann Bartley, a participant in the pilot program, said that she was shy and found it difficult to enter large groups
"I was nervous walking into my first Kick-On session, I could kick a ball but didn't know anyone else there," she said.
"By the end of the first session, I had made new friends, had a great time and had picked up some further football skills."
To find out more and to join Kick-On for Women, visit www.kickonforwomen.com.au.
Upcoming Fitness Events
Newcastle International Half Marathon, Newcastle Foreshore, October 6: It is a new event on the calendar for Newcastle and will also feature a 5km option. The 21.1km course is from Nobbys to Merewether and back, taking in King Edward Park.
Fernleigh 15, Fernleigh Track, October 20: A 15-kilometre running or walking event which is staged along the Fernleigh Track from Adamstown to Belmont.
Point Run Enduro, Green Point, November 2: A new trail run set to test runners over two or four hours. The goal is to see how far you can go over a combination of two looped courses to be revealed on race day.
Spring Sessions Week #3
As the weather gets warmer, mix up your training with a beach session. Soft sand work is lower impact on your joints and can help improve joint stability. It could be going for a walk along the beach or a session like this:
Set up two markers (A and B), 20 metres apart. Pick five strength exercises and aim for four minutes on each with a one-minute rest between. In each set, perform five repetitions of each exercise at A, run forwards to B then backwards to A and repeat continuously for time. Try squats, dead lifts, lunges, push-ups, bent-over rows.
Finish with core work and a recovery plunge in the ocean.
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Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.