Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the North
5:15 PM 7th February 2021

Bouncing Back To Fitness With Free Online Classes

Online exercise classes and social activities have been a lifeline during lockdown for one visually impaired man in Dewsbury.

Ilkley Moor Walk - June 2018
Ilkley Moor Walk - June 2018
Adeel Mo, who has been visually impaired since birth, normally spends his days keeping active and getting outdoors as a member of Wakefield based Open Country. The charity runs various activities to enable anyone with a disability to access and enjoy the countryside.

Since the Covid crisis began, Adeel has kept in virtual contact with the charity's other members and volunteers, taking part in several free exercise classes and joining in activities including weekly quizzes.

Adeel says:
"I signed up for weekly trampolining, combat fitness and yoga classes and they have kept me active both mentally and physically over the past few months. I don’t go out of the house often, especially with social distancing, so these classes are the only way for me to get regular exercise. I also like the fact that they are spread throughout the week, giving some routine and structure."

Open Country's online activities have been funded by a grant from the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership to help tackle social isolation among adults living with disabilities and/or mental ill health in West Yorkshire. The charity is working alongside Wakefield Recovery College and Vibe Fitness to run online exercise classes as well as weekly 'Wild Things' sessions helping to engage people in nature and their local environment. When guidance allows, the charity will be running a face to face 'Trailblazer' group which will carry out access and nature project group work in the countryside.

Adeel continues:
"The classes themselves are fun and challenging. The instructors have been great at making sure they are accessible for visually impaired participants by making sure they explain in detail all the moves we have to do. The classes have helped with my confidence and I like the fact I am able to do the classes without physical sighted assistance.

"My favourite class out of the three is trampolining. I get to jump to random tracks including the Spice Girls!"

Adeel having fun on his Boogie Bounce classAdeel having fun on his Boogie Bounce class
Adeel abseiling with Open Country in 2019Adeel abseiling with Open Country in 2019

Ella Dixon, Open Country's Wild About Wakefield Project Officer, says:
"We are delighted to be able to offer these sessions free of charge to anyone in West Yorkshire, with a learning disability, autism or mental health problem. This is a truly community-led project, working with organisations who are experts in their fields.

"Nearly three quarters of participants so far say that their level of fitness has improved since taking part in the online activities with nearly 90% reporting that it has helped them feel less isolated. It is a really important project for the district, supporting the wellbeing and physical health of marginalised residents during what is a very lonely and challenging time."

Open Country's Wild About Wakefield project, based out of Thornes Park, normally runs weekly activities including tandeming, countryside walks, conservation work parties and wheelchair friendly outings. All of their activities were cancelled at the start of lockdown and so the charity developed a number of befriending services to ensure their members were well supported both practically and emotionally.

Ron and Adeel - May 2018
Ron and Adeel - May 2018
Adeel concludes:
"I really do look forward to connecting with Open Country through these online sessions and I can't wait until we can get back outdoors together. I really enjoy walks in the countryside with them and it will be a very special time when we can do that again."

Places are available to take part in the next series of FREE online exercise classes and activities starting in early March. For more information and to sign up, visit the news section at, ring Project Officer Ella on 07426 716677, or book online at