Persons trained in basic exercise by the Ministry of Health’s Health Promotion Unit and the National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise, have already started physical activity and wellness programmes in their communities, churches, businesses and social clubs.

This was underscored by Health Promotion Officer, Larone Hyland.?? She was speaking on the heels of the second Basic Exercise Workshop for Community Fitness Leaders, organised by the Physical Activity Task Force and the Ministry of Health last week.?? Ms. Hyland noted that the latest participants were also keen to put their plans in motion.

"The goal of the Health Promotion Unit is to get an improvement in the health profile of the people in the country. When you get participants going out there and actually starting programmes, and we did actually have a follow-up session with participants of the first workshop, and persons were successful in starting programmes in their communities.?? This is what we want, because being physically active can reduce your risk of chronic disease.?? So we think that we are succeeding when we have people out there actually doing something," she stated.

Ms. Hyland also revealed that the Task Force was currently working on creating a booklet of basic guidelines for physical activity.?? She pointed out that it would identify how much physical activity persons should engage in, culturally acceptable modes of exercise and inexpensive ways of being active.??

According to Task Force Member and Lifestyle Fitness Coach, Kenneth Griffith, who served as one of three facilitators, the participants of the?? workshops, (the second of which was held last Thursday and Friday at the Pan American Health Organization), learnt the fundamentals of constructing an exercise programme.?? They were also taught how to incorporate games that many persons played as children.??

"They got information on how their bodies work, exercise testing, how to find out if a person is actually ready to take part in an exercise programme, when to refer a person to a physician and how to put together exercise programmes for persons at different levels of fitness – programmes for young people, middle aged persons and the elderly.?? We, however, encouraged them to gain a higher level of education and we will continue to work with them to further develop their skills," he pointed out.

Though met with the challenge of the need for street lights, facilities, equipment, financing and ways to market their programmes, the Task Force suggested utilising the Constituency Councils to secure pastures, pavilions and community centres.???? The body also gave its commitment to providing follow-up technical and advisory skills to the participants.????lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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