A 12-hour exercise marathon, organised by the search engine classfinder, raised over £5,000 for Women’s Aid

The event, which took place virtually on Sunday, 10 May, saw nearly 1,200 people from across the country take part in online classes to raise vital funds for the domestic abuse charity.

classfinder, the UK’s largest online directory of group exercise classes, worked with 24 fitness organisations to offer free 30-minute classes between 8.00am and 8.00pm. The classes took place on Zoom, Facebook Live, YouTube, and Instagram, offering a variety of different exercise formats for both adults and children.

The day started with an energising fitness yoga session from Broga®, followed by a toddler movement session from BabyBeats. Darcey Bussell’s DDMIX then continued the morning shake up before an energetic The Jungle Body® session. Fitness presenter Caroline Crowe then led a Zumba® session before diddi dance – an action and dance class for toddlers – took centre stage. Burlexercise were up next, releasing their inner showgirl, before Dominique Parlatt of Warriors rounded off the morning with Latin fit.

The afternoon kicked off with an action-packed Boxercise® session, followed by the smile-inducing TwerkFit class. Lisa Brockwell’s viBeatz session then encouraged parents and children to get active through dance, before Sam James of Inclusfit led an inclusive Zumba Gold session. A high energy Rave Tone session, led by fitness presenter Anna Martin, was next, followed by a fun and funky Fit4Tap class. Medau was up next, led by Australia-based teacher Zoe Walton, before Pose Barre took people through their paces.

The final four hours started with an older adults movement session by Move it or Lose it®, followed by a sweaty Drum n Bounce class. A packed KFA class took place next, with Rum Pum dance fitness following. Drumstick thrashing with Rockbox then took place before participants were stretched with a yoga session from Yogi Bare. The fundraising target of £5,000 was hit during the tambourine-shaking Soulsa class, before the event finale of the glowstick filled Clubbercise® session.

It has been reported that domestic abuse deaths are have been three times higher during the period since lockdown when compared to the same time last year. During the first two weeks of lockdown, Women’s Aid reported an increase of 41% in users visiting their Live Chat site. To support women and children that are enduring lockdown in abusive homes, Women’s Aid has extended their opening hours and online services during the current crisis.

Faye Connelly, Fundraising Manager for Women’s Aid, said “We’d like to extend a huge thank you to classfinder who have raised over £5,000 to support Women’s Aid through their 12-hour exercise marathon. In recent months, we have all witnessed the spread and impact of Coronavirus and the threat that it poses to women and children experiencing domestic abuse. Many women will now be isolated at home with an abuser, with little safety and no way to access face-to-face support. The incredible support shown from classfinder and their partners will make a huge difference to our work responding to this crisis and help us reach more women who need our services.”

Sport England recently reported that nearly two thirds of adults now consider exercise to be more important than ever in the current COVID-19 crisis. 65% of adults also said they believe exercise is assisting in their mental wellbeing during this period.

Brett Pearson, Head of Sales and Marketing for EMD UK, the national governing body for group exercise who run classfinder, said “We were encouraged to see nearly 1,200 from across the nation get active to support Women’s Aid. Outside of COVID-19, group exercise classes are the second most popular form of physical activity. We want this to continue right now, even without access to physical venues.

“Our event and the wider group exercise community have shown classes can successfully take place in an online environment. For this period, our classfinder.org.uk site is listing virtual classes that anyone, anywhere can take part in. If you have been inspired by ‘The nation’s PE teacher’ to get active, try something new with https://www.classfinder.org.uk/