Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley (foreground) playing road tennis, while Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley,??skips at the Get Moving exercise event. (Image: L. Bayley/BGIS)

Barbadians came together with one mission last Saturday at Ilaro Court – to get moving!

Approximately 2000 people of all ages turned out for the inaugural Get Moving Barbados Exercise Event, which included skipping, hopscotch, an obstacle course, boot camp sessions, a national trust hike, a gym area with spinning (indoor cycling), body mass index testing and nutritional counselling.

The aerobics and dancing routines were most popular with patrons, including Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, who admitted he "enjoyed the dancing".?? He thanked the Chair, Mara Thompson, and members of the Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise for getting Barbadians "up and moving.

??"We don’t want to stop here … let us keep moving.?? We want to ensure that in all communities, you get some kind of exercise programme going and along the way [you] have tremendous fun," Mr. Inniss said.

Prime Minister David Thompson, who was an early participant in a boot camp session, also commended the Task Force for its efforts so far. "It’s all part of a national initiative to get Barbadians, including the Prime Minister and members of Cabinet, moving, looking fit and being healthy, while enjoying their lives to the fullest," he explained.?? ??While urging patrons to continue their exercise programmes, Mr. Thompson expressed the hope that this would lead to "a healthy and successful nation".

Some of the Ministers also participating were Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley and Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, who played road tennis and paddle ball, while Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Stephen Lashley, took part in road tennis, aerobics and skipping.

"I skip in the morning then I go into my home gym… Exercise is great for the mind and I think a healthy country is a productive country.?? So, I certainly embrace anything that is going to encourage Barbadians to get healthy.?? We have too many illnesses like diabetes that we can do without," the Youth Minister maintained.

Meanwhile, two participants, Natasha King and Lynn Lucas thoroughly enjoyed themselves, commenting that it catered to all age groups.?? "There were so many things to choose from and it was fun.?? I think it highlighted the fact that exercise doesn’t have to be dreaded. It is actually something that you can enjoy," Ms. King pointed out.

Ms. Lucas, an avid hiker, was thrilled that some visually-impaired persons also participated and enjoyed the hour and a half hike around Ilaro Court’s environs.?? "It wasn’t a typical health fair where you came and picked up hand outs and then left.?? It was designed to get people moving and that’s what it did," she opined.??

The Get Moving Barbados Exercise Event was conceptualised by the National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.?? Its mandate is to create programmes to involve Barbadians from all walks of life in a national exercise initiative and in so doing, reduce the incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes.??

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