Community moves

Jennifer thought she was headed for surgery until she found Community Moves. Following the simple daily steps given to her by Accredited Exercise Scientist, Van Marinos, Jennifer’s quality of life has improved two-fold.


Jennifer of Neutral Bay had always been fairly active and as a health professional, knew the importance of regular physical activity in achieving optimal health. It was only due to forces beyond her control, that she gradually became less able to participate in the activities she loved.

“My feet have been a problem for most of my adult life due to various structural abnormalities that I was born with. This put pressure on various parts of the foot, resulting in bunions below the big toe joint, most noticeable on the left foot, and I regularly noticed general inflammation and pain. This had been getting worse for many years,” Jennifer says. “I consulted my GP and had x-rays and was referred to a surgeon, although I did not initially go down this path. I tried wearing orthotics, taking anti-inflammatory medications, using anti-inflammatory gels and creams. None of which gave me anything but temporary relief.”

After attempting to aid her pain through regularly exercising herself and walking upwards of 6km a day, it was only until Jennifer joined Community Moves in 2018 that her pain began to resolve itself.

Community Moves Health & Fitness in Neutral Bay was founded by Van Marinos and caters specifically to over 50s looking to improve their health through regular, safe and structured exercise. The program has been designed to address many of the common areas of physical dysfunction seen in the general population as we age.

Exercises aimed at improving core, hip, and shoulder stability can go a long way towards helping people improve their movement patterns, and as a result, reduce pain. Van says it has been amazing to see the number of people that have improved their health and quality of life, simply by attending three or more classes per week.

Though initially hesitant about signing up to a health and fitness program, Jennifer now believes it was one of the best decisions she’s ever made.

“I didn't join Community Moves because of my foot problem, in fact, I was concerned that I would not be able to continue as the exercise might inflame the situation,” Jennifer says. “By that stage, I had even made an appointment to see a surgeon as the pain just got worse and worse. However, when I did sign up for the classes at Community Moves, I quickly progressed and found that my foot pain actually improved! So much so, that I cancelled the appointment. And while I initially joined Community Moves to get fit and healthy and to improve bone mass, I have now found that my foot pain is almost negligible.”

Explaining his role as an Accredited Exercise Scientist, Van always reminds members that he is not qualified to diagnose or treat pain and that they should always seek professional help if suffering from pain or inflammation. This advice is of utmost importance to him. However, he does say that his job is to create a program and an environment that enables people with various physical and psychological limitations, the opportunity to improve their health through safe, suitable and sustainable exercise sessions.

“We recently conducted an internal health survey and found that of all the members that started at Community Moves with pre-existing injuries or chronic pain, 85% had noticed significant improvements in their conditions,” Van says.

Jennifer also explains that through undertaking simple steps on a day-to-day basis, like observing how she places her feet on the ground when she walks, has strengthened certain areas and made an enormous difference towards her pain.

“Although the bunions are still structurally apparent, they are no longer red and inflamed or painful,” Jennifer says. “I am as amazed as anyone at this outcome! My feet are so good now, that recently I started doing Tango dancing lessons, expecting sore feet would soon put a stop to it, but once again I found that even after one and a half hours of dancing, I was fine.”

Van signs off with an important message to anyone over 50 who are wanting to improve their health on a day-to-day basis.

“Our bodies are designed for movement and when they are given the opportunity to not only move regularly, but taught to move properly as well, they will pay you back in spades. There are 168 waking hours in a week and if you committed to improving your own health for just five hours each week, the quality of time spent with family, friends, on holiday or otherwise, would most definitely improve,” Van says.

“Perhaps, you’d even be able to Tango too!”

Van Marinos

Van is an Accredited Exercise Scientist and Founder of Community Moves Health & Fitness. He has over 15-years’ experience in Health & Fitness, Education, and Sports Development.