Sports Minister, Dwight Sutherland (centre), and the exercise group being put through their paces at the launch of BajeFit 3 at the Ellerton Playing Field in St. George yesterday. (N. Phillips/BGIS)

Communities across Barbados are being encouraged to come out and exercise and relieve some of the stress associated with the ‘new norm’ of living in a COVID-19 environment.

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, urged the public, especially the youth, to come out and exercise during the launch of the National Sports Council’s (NSC) BajeFit 3, last evening, at the Ellerton Playing Field, Ellerton, St. George.

Minister Sutherland noted that during the last 15 months, some of the challenges presented, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, included being unable to exercise and increased stress levels. He said BajeFit 3 is one of the ways the Ministry is seeking to address these challenges.

“It presented tremendous challenges to the adults and the children … but we have the opportunity to address some of the challenges, for example non-communicable diseases, such as stroke, hypertension and diabetes. And the best way to address this when you go to any doctor, the first remedy he or she says [is] to exercise.

“COVID-19 also brought some health challenges, in terms of mental health issues among our young people. Don’t underestimate the mental health challenges in this country. And this (BajeFit) is a way to relieve stress; come out and exercise and relieve that stress, as we often say, bust a sweat,” he said.

He added that BajeFit 3 would be held in 31 communities across Barbados as it also seeks to “build the cohesiveness and the community spirit that we once enjoy pre COVID”. 

“This is one of the best ways to do it; where you come out and you meet your friends and you discuss some of the issues, some of the challenges, and you never know, some of your problem solving can occur during exercise,” Minister Sutherland suggested.

Speaking on deviant behaviour, the Minister expressed the view that community based events like BajeFit, the use of the Community Development Department’s Programmes and community centres, Youth Achieving Results, First Job Initiative and other programmes could be utilised to “bring some unity and some peace within our communities”.

At the launch, fitness instructor from Extreme Body Mechanix, Steven Mason, and NSC’s coaches, Donovan Lovell and Leo Garnes, led those in attendance through their “fitness” paces. 

There were also businesses on hand plying their wares, including fitness and sporting gear and jewellery.

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