The places where people live, learn, work and play can affect their health and well-being, as well as their chances for achieving the highest quality of life.??

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, was at the time speaking to 33 participants of the second basic exercise workshop for community fitness leaders, organised by the National Task Force on Physical Activity and Exercise.?? It was held last Thursday, September 9 and Friday, September 10, at the Pan American Health Organization.

"Settings that aim to provide a healthier environment by addressing social, economic and environmental needs of people are known as ???healthy settings’.?? They have their own stakeholders and local resources, such as knowledgeable people, meeting places, open spaces, and ways of sharing information.?? These resources, though not financial, should be taken into account when community-based physical activity programmes are being planned," she noted.

The Task Force, working under the aegis of the Ministry of Health, convened the workshop to assist persons in planning physical activity sessions in the community, workplace, church, school or other settings.

Meanwhile, Senior Health Promotion Officer with the Ministry of Health, Denise Carter Taylor, hoped to see the benefits of the training, at the community level.????

"Having representatives from various community groups, churches and workplaces is the type of involvement the Task Force wants to encourage. This will create a cadre of persons at the community level who can motivate their colleagues and neighbours to get active. The workshop was well received by the participant, given the level of participation and enthusiasm that we saw during the two days," she said. ??

The Senior Health Official encouraged the participants to return to their communities and immediately start a programme, irrespective of size.?? "We would like to have several cells out there in the community producing programmes and making things happen.?? Physical activity has to be accessible, convenient and easy to do and people have to feel that they are supported in doing it," Mrs. Carter Taylor added.

Participant of the first workshop, Judy Ann Cox, also advised those present to take full advantage of the training.?? "After doing the Task Force workshop in February, I told my neighbour about the workshop and I told her get your softwear and let’s go walking on evenings.?? Over time, we were joined by about five other girls.?? I have also found that some of the children in the community were becoming overweight, especially the little girls.?? So I told three of them … do your homework and if you have a bicycle, bring it.??

If you have skipping rope, bring it.?? Whatever you have we will use, three days out of the week at least.?? And they came with their gear on ready to go," she declared.??

The workshop included basic nutrition and fitness, exercises to avoid, physical fitness testing and several practical sessions.????lbayley@barbados.gov.bb

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