Fitness classes for young people struggling with anxiety and depression start this August at Don’t Give Up! but the activity has been going on since 2016. Stefan Olafur Stefansson, one of its founders, says that it is necessary to meet the needs of young people who are in these steps. Everyone is aware of the positive effects that exercise can have on mental well-being, but it may be more difficult to take the step necessary to start exercising.
“Research shows that exercise and physical activity are important for mental well-being, but it is often very difficult for a person who is feeling unwell to take the step and start exercising. We want to facilitate that step by creating an atmosphere that is tailored to the group that has not found themselves in organized sports or general fitness. We try to take out all the anxious things that we think can have a negative effect and our only goal is to create joy. For example, we turn away from mirrors, do not read aloud, have simple exercises, and make sure that the kids do not have to mate themselves, “explains Stefan. “Then we meet them where they are at any given time and if, for example, they have difficulty getting into the hall for the first time, we just get out of the car and chat. Remind them that they have at least arrived on the scene and that is a great achievement. So we just build on that. Our goal is for them to experience positive emotions when moving, and if they are not there, we just need to do better, adapt the exercise to the person, or do something different. Exercise and exercise should be fun. ”
The courses start on 24 and 25 August. and there are four different times available. Registration is in full swing on ekkigefastupp.is, but those interested are advised to register as soon as possible as the courses are usually full quickly. Only 10 places are available in each group, but they are intended for young people from the age of 14 to 18 years.
“We want to have these small groups, but great emphasis is placed on a personal approach and that the individual gets the restraint he needs. Then you train in a closed hall during the minimum load time at the station. ”
“Some who come to us have been moving something before others not doing anything. But it does not matter because everyone is on their own terms. Many of these kids also have negative experiences regarding exercise that has undermined their self-confidence. They have either not found themselves in the competitive environment that often accompanies sports or experienced bullying and teasing in school sports, “says Stefan. “A positive experience of physical activity in childhood is very important and increases the likelihood that an individual will adopt a healthy lifestyle in adulthood. In my opinion, school sports in primary schools need to place more emphasis on creating this pleasure and taking more account of the individual and his or her strengths. It is extremely important for us as a society to take good care of the group that does not find itself in general fitness or organized sports activities. ”
“We focus on exercises in the equipment room as well as station training. We try to build self-confidence with simple exercises so that the children quickly find what they can do and that it is often much more than they think. Fitness and strength are not just limited to having abdominal muscles. We want to create an environment where they enjoy themselves and if they show up on time and go out with a smile on their face, the goal is achieved. Some people stay with us while others go into some other movement and then maybe find themselves in some sport, “says Stefan.
“We received a picture sent the other day from a parent of his child on the podium, but he had become the Icelandic champion in his field. It was a lot of fun, and those of us who love it loved it. We all have a sports background and know what the movement has done for us. Seeing an individual who came through our course, has found his movement and feels good about it gives us extra strength to continue this. ”
Do not give up! has been working since 2016, but five coaches, all of whom have experience working with young people with mental illness, run the courses. “We are a very good whole and we are all passionate about what makes this so fun. Siggi and I, together with Alexandra Sif, Sunna Rut, and Magnús, have the dream of expanding this ideology as much as possible and we are constantly looking for ways to make it a reality. We want to make this a big sports club, so if anyone interested wants to join us on that journey, we are always ready to take part in the discussion. ”
“In recent years, we have collaborated with the Little Anxiety Center and Jakó, and we have also started a collaboration with the head coach Linda Huld Loftsdóttir, who will offer goal training with us this winter. She has a diploma in treatment counseling, is very skilled in her field, and is passionate about working with young people. So it fits in perfectly with our work. ”
The courses take place in Heilsuklasan, Bildshofdi 9, and start on the 24th and 25th of August. “The facilities are great, the atmosphere is calm and good and the station really meets all our needs,” explains Stefan. “Then all the appropriate measures have been taken for COVID 19 and more than that which is of course very important.”
There are four different training sessions on Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is also possible to use the leisure time grant to pay for the courses, but payment is made through the payment system.