Fitness Festival kicks off

It has been long in coming but it is finally here. We are of course speaking of an initiative of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) that is decidedly broad-based. It is the NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival, the first edition of which comes off on Sunday 26 May in our capital city, Kingstown.
This is the third article that draws attention to this event. This relates directly to its importance in respect of the development of St Vincent and the Grenadines as a healthy nation.
Health is wealth. This old adage is actually a truism. Unfortunately many Vincentians do not seem to take it seriously and Sunday’s initiative is intended to increase awareness of just how much every Vincentian can experience a change in life when physical activity is integrated into their way of doing things on a daily basis.
The NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival will bring Vincentian families together at South River Road on Sunday to begin a new phase in Vincentian development. It is placing sport and physical activity as a wholesome way of living for everyone in the future.
Too often we forget that movement is the fundamental basis of fitness and fitness leads to general ell being.
Dancing is a very important physical activity and too often we ignore it at our peril. Our older citizens do not take time to dance at home as a form of exercise even as much as it is an expression of the love they possess for each other. Dancing allows them to stay fit and grow old together.
In the past it was common to see children everywhere skipping. They skipped in their yards, in the streets or in the playgrounds at their schools. Often times the materials used were vines from neighbouring bushes. This is no longer fashionable.
Indeed it is disturbing to know the number of children today who have never experienced skipping and therefore are inept at it.
Many of our older folks do not know the importance of walking up stairs for their well being. They cringe at the thought of facing stairs. The same can be said of our young people for whom climbing stairs is an unwelcome chore as well.
The NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival aims to get people moving; getting out of the comfort zone brought on by a sedentary lifestyle.
This is just a wake up call to get Vincentians aware of the importance of changing the way in which we live.
The activities, which get going from around 3.00pm, will involve trained personnel from the various sporting organisations in St Vincent and the Grenadines, leading the various exercises.
The programme is expected to last about three to four hours.
Sunday’s activity will feature a range of physical activity for everyone. There will be individuals leading what we sometimes refer to as keep fit sessions where people are encourage dot practice a number of exercises aimed at relaxing and stretching the muscles of the body.
Other persons will lead people in dance. Yet others would have individuals skip, or walk or jog or ride.
There will be activities for the children as well.
The NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival invites all Vincentians.
We are well aware that as Carnival comes around our young people seem eager to get fit so they can last through the 10-day festivities. Sunday’s activities are much more than that.
Sunday’s activities constitute much more than Street Games as well.
The family is the core social unit of any society. In our beautiful country the family is under immense pressure. Our value system seems to be bursting at the seams.
There is reason to believe that if the family, as a unit, gets involved in an active lifestyle, then its members are more likely to look out for each other’s general well being.
Nothing can be more important than family doing things together. It serves to ensure greater unity amongst the members.
There remains much concern globally over the high incidence of non communicable diseases (NCD) and chronic non communicable diseases (CNCD). The reasoning behind is that these are lifestyle diseases that have suddenly begun to claim thousands of lives when that need not be the case.
As happens so often the Caribbean, in its laid back and lethargic approach to almost everything, has only relatively recently acknowledged that our peoples have shown a propensity to fall prey to the global malady.
Everywhere in the Caribbean there is a sudden and appalling increase in the number of amputees moving around. Some observers suggest that they did not notice the spiralling numbers until it was really in the face.
Here at home some people have already passed on as a result of NCDs and CNCDs with great speed.
In almost every part of St Vincent and the Grenadines the talk is about this or that person being the latest one to have some limb amputated. Of course as always happens, accusing fingers are being pointed in the direction of certain physicians. But is this the whole story?
We can avoid diabetes and hypertension. We can fight against the growth of heart disease around us. We can achieve these goals merely by engaging in a regular diet of physical activity and it does not have to be too harsh on our bodies. We simply have to be consistent in doing some form of workout.
The NOC believes that there is more than enough evidence to suggest that over time Vincentians have generally taken on board the lifestyle of developed countries.
I tis not only the value systems of those countries we have ad opted. We have just as readily taken preference to the way they live. We eat the same fatty fast foods taking our lead from the attractive and appealing advertisements we see on the cable channels.
Our people now eschew the sedentary lifestyle. We drive to go everywhere. Walking is no longer fashionable and we have even convinced our children by example that they should no longer walk to and from school.
Everywhere is just too far to walk.
In St Vincent and the Grenadines today when someone sees a friend walking in Kingstown the first question is almost always, is something wrong with your car? Such is the extent to which we have become lazy and we have encouraged our children to follow our lead.
Vincentian parents pay little or no attention to childhood obesity even as the nurses and doctors continue to advise them otherwise. They believe in feeding children until they are hardly distinguishable from plump puddings. WE need to put a stop to this unsavoury practice. We need to value our children more by engaging them very early in regular physical activity.
The NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival aims to create awareness amongst Vincentians of the immense benefits to be derived from active living. The idea is to promote sport for all and physical activity as a way of life amongst Vincentians without exception.
Everyone is therefore being encouraged to come along. If you have a bicycle then come for the ride.
If you have a skipping rope, bring it along.
I twill be a day of fun-filled recreation activity.
The future
The NOC’s Sport for All Commission carries the responsibility for Sunday’s activities. This is but the beginning of a thrust that is sustainable and which can only redound to the benefit of all of St Vincent and the Grenadines.
Kingstown is the venue for the official launch of the NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival. But the capital city will become, over time, the venue for consistent family fitness activities for families in the broader area.
Additionally, the Commission will convene regular sessions in communities across St Vincent and the Grenadines.
No community is being left out of the NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival.
The time has come to end the talk of there being a wellness revolution that adds to the profile of some public figures.
It is time to get real. Life is important to all Vincentians and everywhere we must commit to getting our peoples out and exercising regularly.
The Chinese leads the peoples of Asia in their eagerness to maintain very high levels of physical activity every day of their lives, regardless of age or physical condition. There is much that we can and must learn from them.
The time has also come to resist the temptation for our people to believe that once we speak of physical activity it means training to become an athlete.
Athletes have a totally different objective and they must engage in rigorous training on a consistent basis.
The objective of the NOC’s Sport for All Family Fitness Festival is to get people active for their overall well being.
It is about reducing the risks of falling prey to NCDs and CNCDs.
It is about reducing our medical bills at all levels.
It is about transforming St Vincent and the Grenadines into the leading country in the Caribbean for engagement of its population in physical activity.
Every day we must find people everywhere doing some form of movement and encouraging their children to be with them in these undertakings.
Children are being encouraged to regularly take their parents along with them for some form of physical exercise. It does not have to be strenuous.
Indeed, once people begin to get the hang of things they will see the benefits, enjoy them and encourage others to do likewise.
Let us commit to being the fittest nation in the Caribbean.
Let us start now.
Sunday 26 May 2013 may just provide the initiative and motivation that Vincentians need to change their lives forever.