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Online fitness with friends

The importance of strong friendships and relationships for women is openly documented by psychologists.* Research shows that having a support network or strong community bonds fosters both emotional and physical health**.

This has been evident recently with COVID-19 restricting social interactions outside of our ‘bubbles.’ With social distancing restrictions back in place and with cases of COVID-19 on the rise, the importance of community and health is even more paramount. So, it was timely that on June 22nd 2020, Hey Mama Movement launched - an online fitness subscription service that enables women to connect virtually and exercise together with their friends, anytime, anywhere.

For women (many of whom are mothers) of all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels, Hey Mama Movement makes the online exercise experience social and interactive to maintain motivation, create accountability, and build positive and lasting habits for women everywhere. The platform allows women to work out in a safe and nonjudgmental way, connecting them with friends on their own terms.

Hey Mama Movement combines the advantages of video conferencing, media streaming, booking, social catch ups and health and fitness applications but what differentiates it is that it connects women with each other. It is the first online group fitness program in New Zealand where you can share a guided workout video with anyone you choose, your friends, even family members or workmates. “Recent insights collected via the 2018 Active NZ survey show that the number of hours spent participating in physical activity by females declines with age, such that on average, 42% of women do not do enough physical activity to positively impact their health. 76% of women want to do more physical activity, but a loss of confidence, doubts about ability, access to fewer opportunities to do the physical activities they want to do, and feeling less encouraged by others to take part present significant and very real barriers to participation for women,” says Matthew Cooper, Sport Waikato CEO.

Designed by mothers for mothers, the web-based platform has been created by founder, Elite Netball Manager and HIIT trainer, Dairne Burns a mother of three young children who started out inviting six friends to join her for a fitness session at her home, when her usual sporty-self was recovering from having her second baby and her confidence was at an all-time low.

“After the birth of my second son, I felt really lost, unmotivated and unconfident. It took time, but after encouragement from my family and realising that I needed some help to pick myself up out of the hole, I invited a few friends to workout with me in my garage. Those few friends multiplied rapidly into 120 women attending each week in our ‘studio’ aka garage in the evenings!” says Burns. 

Come 2019, Hey Mama Movement was over full capacity with a long waiting list. Burns was having to turn women away and not help them start their journey, which was the catalyst to developing an affordable online platform to meaningfully help more women be physically active and increase positive mental health outcomes.

A year in the making, Dairne and her dedicated team have been working on the virtual launch of Hey Mama Movement to offer every woman the opportunity to improve their life through being more active.

“During lockdown, many women explored new and different ways to engage in online exercise while restrictions prevented many of their usual group sport or exercise activities. Research has shown many women want to continue using online options and that number we imagine will increase significantly if it means seeing their friends as well.”

“We are passionate about building a future where women worldwide consistently connect and work out together face to face, while being geographically apart, anywhere, anytime. I have been grateful to see first-hand the results our community has experienced such as the reduction of Type II diabetes symptoms, helping support healthy weight loss and having a positive impact on mental health including increased self-confidence amongst our community of women.” concludes Burns.

Each 30-45 minute workout caters to a maximum group of four which allows optimal interaction. You pick the time, the people you want to work out with, and then the exercise session from an endlessly changing selection of videos, and each of you can join in from wherever you like via video conference on the platform. There is also the option to workout individually.

In addition to this, with Hey Mama Movement no workout is ever the same, and you can select your workout type from Pilates, Yoga or HIIT. The trainers, including Sonia and Braidy Lidington from Progressive Pilates and Olivia van Lierop from Enrich Yoga, are inclusive and adept at motivating others by creating a sense of camaraderie and purpose. They offer variations for users to select from according to their fitness levels.

For three years, Sarah Evans has been part of the community training in Dairne’s garage and has been trialling the new web-based platform during lockdown. Evans says, “Hey Mama Movement is more than just an exercise class. The sessions are challenging, and they cater for all levels, It is also a great way to connect with likeminded ladies that make you turn up with motivation is low.”

A number of studies suggest that group exercise is even more beneficial than solo exercise for women, and that establishing a routine, enjoyment and accountability are three of the top drivers for adherence to ongoing exercise – all of which are fundamental to platforms offering.

The web-based platform also includes a holistic approach to health and wellness offering women nutritional guidance and wellness tips to make their lives easier from professionals such as Physiotherapist, Amanda Foster, Dietitian, Sarah Mercer and Health and Fitness advocate, teacher Jamie-Lee Roberts.

Hey Mama Movement acts as a catalyst for change, empowering women to improve their health and wellbeing through a unique online, shared exercise platform that has a positive and lasting impact on their lives. The launch of the Hey Mama Movement app will follow in 2021.

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