In order to support orangutan conservation, the Orangutan Project spearheads fundraising efforts
Olivia Vivian, an international Ninja Warrior and former Australian Olympic gymnast, is the official ambassador of the Body Fit Challenge taking place this March.
A self-confessed “monkey in a human body,” Olivia is using her profile to encourage others to take up the challenge and do something positive for themselves and for Critically Endangered orangutans.
“I am honored to have been asked by The Orangutan Project to get involved with the Body Fit Challenge,” said Vivian. “Orangutans are known for their upper body strength, so obviously there’s a real synergy with what I do as a gymnast and a Ninja Warrior.
“As a redhead, I’ve always had an affinity with orangutans, and I’m delighted to be able to use my profile to help raise awareness and funds for an important cause.”
Participants in the Body Fit Challenge raise funds for orangutan conservation by performing a set number of daily exercise repetitions – which include push-ups, pull-ups, and sit-ups – during the month of March. It is possible for participants to choose between three levels – beginner, intermediate and advanced – based on their current level of fitness and ability.
In order to improve overall health and fitness, as orangutans are seven times stronger than humans, the challenge focuses on strengthening the upper body.
“Upper body and grip strength are essential to what I do as a gymnast and a Ninja Warrior,” Vivian said. “But it’s important for all of us to maintain and improve – particularly as we age – so that we can undertake simple everyday activities that involve lifting, pushing or pulling.”
Unlike other fundraising fitness challenges, the Body Fit Challenge incorporates pull-ups into its exercise program.
“Pull-ups are a great low-impact exercise as they work multiple muscles at the same time,” said Vivian. “However, people may be reluctant to give them a try as they are not sure if they can do them or they don’t have access to a pull-up bar. There are, however, some simple alternatives that you can do at home without the need for a bar. The exercise guides available on the Body Fit Challenge website outline some of these alternatives.”
Vivian will encourage her supporters and followers to join the Body Fit Challenge and help raise funds for orangutan conservation through her social media channels.
“I’ve set a goal to raise funds in support of The Orangutan Project in this year’s challenge,” says Vivian. “I’ll be encouraging others to get on board by signing up for the challenge and joining my team or making a donation to my fundraising page.”
All funds raised from the Body Fit Challenge will go directly to supporting on the ground outcomes for Critically Endangered orangutans in Borneo and Sumatra.
From March 1 to March 31, individuals from all over the world can take part in the Body Fit Challenge.
Registrations are open now at www.bodyfitchallenge.org. To join Olivia’s team, go to www.bodyfitchallenge.org/join/teamolivia.
About The Orangutan Project
The Orangutan Project was established in 1998 with a critical mission; to ensure that Critically Endangered orangutan species are protected against Extinction and will continue to live in viable wild populations for generations to come. Today, The Orangutan Project is a dynamic, fast-growing and successful non-profit organization that has raised over $25 million to support a wide range of critical projects that address the holistic problem facing fragmented orangutan populations – including fighting deforestation and habitat loss at the highest level. Find out more at www.theorangutanproject.org.
About Olivia Vivian
If life is a series of challenges, Olivia Vivian has lived more than her fair share. Born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia (a hole in her primary respiratory muscle), she was told she’d never compete in sports. At nine, in following her dreams to be a gymnast, she was told she was too tall. At 17, she was told to quit because she’d never make the Olympic team. And at 23, she was told she was far too old for the sport. It’s all thanks to Olivia Vivian’s tenacious nature that saw her push through every obstacle to reach her sporting elite. With an impressive list of credentials to her name including the World Championships and 2008 Beijing Olympics, more setbacks were to come: the death of her father and a broken back.
Making a full recovery to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games (and helping to win the silver medal for her team), Olivia Vivian eventually retired from gymnastics. Having grown up well beyond her years, enduring intense verbal abuse, multiple injuries and a deteriorating mental state under the pressures of competition, she had lost her love for sport and physical exercise. That was until she found Ninja Warrior, using it as a vehicle to change her life and unlock her full potential. When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change… a maxim she happily lives by and promotes.
Her Ninja Warrior journey has seen her compete all over the world and to date, she is the only female in the world to earn furthest fastest on a Ninja Warrior Semi-Finals Course.