STAR ATHLETE Sarah Lavin is encouraging Limerick schools to be quick off the blocks and sign up for the Aviva Health School’s Fitness Challenge.
Last year 10 schools in the county completed the initiative. Registration closes this Friday, January 17 so those interested will have to be on their marks.
It is a national challenge for first, second and third year pupils which measures the aerobic fitness levels of school children, and highlights its importance to their current and future health.
New research reveals that eight in 10 secondary school teachers believe physical education should be treated as a core examinable subject - to include the regular monitoring of fitness levels - on the curriculum for all students.
Professor Niall Moyna, from the Centre for Preventive Medicine, says a health body equals a healthy mind.
“Fitness is one of the best indicators of a person’s overall health, and a high level of fitness reduces the risk for major chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, and diabetes.
“Our research shows that the majority of teachers - nine in 10 - recognise that regular physical activity impacts positively on student’s academic performance, leading to a marked improvement in concentration, motivation, alertness and an overall healthy mind,” said Mr Moyna.
Upon completion of registering for the challenge at www.avivahealth.ie/fitnesschallenge by Friday, January 17. PE teachers will receive all they need to participate including a step-by-step guide on how to complete the challenge and a CD with the bleep test. The initial fitness test will examine the current level of fitness of the students and these results must be uploaded to the website by January 31, 2014.
The teachers will then undertake a six week training programme with their students to improve the cardiovascular fitness and then the students will complete another fitness test to measure the improvement.
Aviva Health would like teachers to get involved on-line as well with prizes across eight categories for most improved and fittest boys’, girls’ and mixed schools plus for every PE teacher whose class completes the challenge, they will be entered into a draw to win a €500 Elverys sports voucher.
Log onto www.avivahealth.ie/fitnesschallenge