This is a great opportunity to face a new and exciting fitness challenge while also helping those in need.

It has now been 12 months since Covid-19 restrictions were first introduced in Ireland and for many it has been the year of the fitness regime at home. We are all just waiting for the end of this tumultuous period in our lives, but in the meantime, Focus Ireland offers us the ideal opportunity to test how effective these daily workouts have been.

The feeling of hope in light at the end of the tunnel is all too familiar to the homeless in Ireland. With The Next Step, Focus Ireland’s virtual marathon, you can do your part and take on a little fitness challenge for yourself at the same time.

Focus Ireland is driven by its fundamental belief that homelessness is wrong. In 2020, the charity helped 810 families out of homelessness, including 4,000 children. With The Next Step you can help Focus Ireland keep this important work going.

Why is?

Basically, throughout April, people are asked to run, run, jog, or go for a walk 42.2 km. When you sign up, Focus Ireland will help you along the way with a fundraising guide and social media toolkit to share your progress and solicit donations from your network.

Sounds like a challenge you’d like to take on? You take the next step by following this link Here are five really simple fitness tips to help you get in shape before you travel. No fancy fitness equipment necessary!

Rocket jumps

It was a difficult time for everyone so let’s start with something simple. Stand on your thighs with your feet hip-width apart, knees bent, and hands. As you jump up, run your hands directly over your head and stretch your entire body. Land gently, reposition your feet, and repeat 15 times.

Squats

Another old reliable one. With your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands down on your sides, lower yourself by bending your knees with your thighs parallel to the floor. Make sure you keep your back straight and repeat this 15 times.

Push-ups for chair / bench

Let’s get things to the garden or, if not, to the local park. Place your hands on a garden chair or park bench and fully extend your legs behind you. Bend your arms and lower your chest towards the chair or bench and push up. Repeat 12 times.

Tightrope walk

This one is great for the calves and quads. Find a smooth surface that’s at least two meters long – maybe the edge of a lawn or pavement. Raise your arms to the side and go over the “tight rope” until you reach the end (or your reach is six feet). Turn on your footballs and walk back in the opposite direction. Repeat for three minutes.

The 5 km challenge

Let’s spread things out a bit. While Covid-19 restrictions currently only allow us to exercise within 3 miles of our homes, this still leaves plenty of room to maintain our fitness.

Find some time every day, whether you set your alarm early or go out at lunchtime, and start walking or running more and more each day. You can start up to 200 meters before continuing to 500 meters the next day, then 1 km, 1.5 km, 2 km and so on. Whatever you are comfortable with!

Remember, the clocks move forward on March 28th, leaving long evenings ideal for taking on Focus Ireland’s The Next Step challenge!

Let’s get on our feet and help people who are homeless in Ireland.