The Wokingham Paper

EVERY STEP COUNTS: Build happier communities and share the love

Picture: Arek Socha from Pixabay

Welcome to the 164th column for Every Step Counts. You name it, we have covered it over the last 3 years. Nutrition, state of mind, training, NLP, psychology, sports performance, weight loss, happiness, I could go on.

This column is all about sharing the love and giving you the tools to be healthier, happier and stronger both mentally and physically.

If you have been reading this column religiously for some time, you will have realised that every now and again, I like to focus on little projects or mini subject areas which lets me dial in the focus and be more specific.

We have had many mini-projects over the last few years and this latest project has been one of my favourites, it really has.

For the last 6 weeks, EVERY STEP COUNTS has been focusing on the Wokingham Action for Happiness Course which I have been running and also local activities or service providers that I feel need promoting.

We have 3 weeks left of this mini-project and the last few weeks have got some seriously interesting content for you all. This week I want to focus on week 7 of the course which was all about creating happier communities and also a local trainer who I know well that has a real authentic love for strength training and everything that comes with it.

So, week 7 – Can we build happier communities?

As the Dalai Lama so perfectly said, “The creation of a more peaceful and happier society has to begin from the level of the individual, and from there it can spread to one’s family, to one’s neighbourhood, to one’s community and so on.”

Although recent research has seen increases in average incomes and living standards, this has also seen a rise in distrust and lack of cohesion. We are a social species and thrive when we feel connected to others.

However, we are facing an epidemic of loneliness with far more people feeling isolated and disconnected.

So, what can we do to buck the trend? What can we do to make a difference?  Well, according to my beloved Action for Happiness, we could do the following:

  • We need to enhance human relationships. We should be working together to reduce loneliness and social isolation, and to support people whose relationships are in difficulty. 
  • There needs to be a prioritisation for mental health. Mental Illness causes an enormous amount of suffering. We ned to be helping people in our communities to access the proven therapies, medication and support they really need. 
  • The support of the early years is of primary importance. The earliest years of children’s lives have a huge impact on their lifelong success. We must give priority to children’s emotional wellbeing, including support for new parents, troubled families and young people who are at risk of mental health issues. 

Keeping it simple, how about we get to know our neighbours better, volunteer our own time for a local charity or cause that we care about, join local people in community groups, campaign for changes to wellbeing policies in our area or how about join a happy café? I will be touching more on this in a few weeks so wait out for some exciting news from us on that. 

Jeremy Bentham said it perfectly when he said, “Create all the happiness you are able to create, remove all the misery you are able to remove.”

Love it, so simple yet so true.

Moving onto our local service or person that is doing something pretty cool at the moment and that brings me onto Aaron Hopkins from the PT:U training facility in Winnersh. 

I have known Aaron for some time especially as I started working from their unit back in 2013 when I first left the Royal Marines. They were just setting up their facility, so it has been nice seeing both our businesses and interests grow at the same time. I caught up with Aaron (Azza) last week and asked him a few questions and I want to share his comments with you today.

I asked him what he stood for? What does he believe in?

He simply replied, “In a world where’s it’s cool to stand for something I feel I like to stand for the basics, its all about the basics.”

I couldn’t agree more, its why I am called the FUNdaMENTAL Coach. It is all about the fundamentals or as Aaron likes to say, the BASICS. In terms of insights I asked him about those basics, he came back with:

“Be happy, build happiness”

“Be inclusive, we all have to learn somehow.”

“Learn, learn and learn some more. Find people who know more than you and talk to them, get them in your gym or go see them.”

“Be Strong and Move.”

Now I could write an article on each one of these as they are so true, I suppose that’s why we get on well, similar values and similar opinions on key areas of health, fitness and personal development.

His gym, who he co-runs with another local trainer, caters for self-employed personal trainers wanting to have a gym to train their clients from. They offer space for them to do this in their own way.

In Aaron’s words, it’s their space to do what they want with clients.” I asked Aaron who he likes to work with and what his primary service is.

He said: “Personal Training is my baby, I work with a whole range of clients with a range of goals, my main skill set is Strength training and Technique with lifting. I recently had a client go to Canada to complete in the commonwealth powerlifting championships.”

How cool is that? Like I said, Aaron is your man when it comes to strength training, he really does love it.

I also asked him for a quote that he believes in. He gave me a few but I picked my favourite one – GIVE YOUR ALL WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE DOING.

Yes, Yes, Yes, it’s what its all about, focus and effort, hard work and consistency … the guy knows what he’s on about. 

Finally, I want to share an exciting opportunity he has coming up at his facility. They have the amazing Michaela Breeze MBE coming down to PT:U in Winnersh.

If you don’t know who she is, she is the commonwealth record holder in Olympic weightlifting and one of Britain’s best female Olympic weightlifters ever. She will be coming to PT:U to teach people how to Olympic weightlift, more specifically the clean and jerk and the snatch.

It’s open to complete beginners and advanced lifters alike. The workshop is running on December 7 so next month.

If you fancy finding out more or want to contact Aron, go online to or contact Aaron on .

There we have it, another week, another week of our mini-project.

Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.

Have a fab week, have an awesome Thursday and take action… it’s one choice you won’t regret.

Chris Hunt, author of the Every Step Counts column

Chris Hunt is the Head Mind, Body and Life Coach at The FUNdaMENTAL Coach based out of The Hub, Molly Millars Lane, Wokingham

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