Teachers – it’s time to lead by example

Some of the most influential adults in our children’s lives – are of course teachers. I am sure many of you can recall at least one teacher who you truly admired and who served as a powerful role model?

With this in mind, the Sports Science Institute of SA (SSISA) and Woolworths, keen to get some of our teachers fit and healthy, have embarked on the six-month “Teachers on the Move” programme.

Teachers can then lead by example and there is an abundance of scientific research validating that the behaviours and lifestyle choices children learn and adopt as youngsters, are often taken into adulthood.

We are confident that the educators’ participation will ignite a culture of health and movement in the schools in which it is offered. Christel House, Tafelsig High, Kenmere Primary, Portavue Primary, Koeberg Primary and Kannemeyer Primary are the lucky six schools this year.

The lifestyle intervention programme kicked off in August, when 186 teachers were assessed. Measurements taken were blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and waist and hip circumferences and the battery of tests included a 12-minute motion test to assess baseline fitness levels.

The Community Health Intervention Programme staff at SSISA (CHIPs) – take weekly sessions at the school and initially focus on low intensity chair-based training until the teachers’ exercising technique is good. They then progress to moderate intensity bodyweight exercises.

Come February 2017 – all these assessments will be repeated and we will see just how much the teachers have improved. To keep motivation levels high, both a fun walk early in October and the Move for Your Health 6km event on Sunday October 30 are included in their training. The programme ends early February, with a final challenge, usually a mini boot camp event – where the teachers are able to show off their newfound fitness.

Says a very eager participant and principal at Tafelsig High School, Ruschda O’Shea: “It’s a really good bonding experience for the teachers at the school. We are all seen as equals and it’s something different, that we have never done before. It creates awareness and calls for lifestyle changes to ensure we are living healthier.”

Educator Donetha Cupido from Christel House Academy adds: “The exercise is not too strenuous and lots of fun. Teachers are also walking during their breaks and after school, which is a first for many.”

Let’s follow the lead of these teachers and take on the challenge of being inspiring role models.

Lace up those walking shoes and get cracking with Week 2 of your six-week training guide to complete the MySchool Move for Your Health 6km walk or run taking place on October 30 as part of the Landmarks event. The full walking and running training programmes can be found on www.ssisa.com We are also calling all schools to sign up for the ADT/Woolworths School Mass Participation Competition.

With over R30 000 worth of prize money for schools with the highest percentage of pupils finishing the 6km run/walk you don’t want to miss out. Visit www.ssisa.com/project/2016-move-health/ for all the details.

Interested in sponsoring a bus trip to get 60 children to the event? E-mail move4health@ssisa.com or call Raeesa Kamalie on 021 659 5661.

* Kathleen McQuaide is from SSISA.