Monday, March 11, 2019

PERSONAL trainer Karl Henry was on-hand to kickstart Kildare Town Community School’s recent wellbeing week at a launch event which took place during the afternoon of Wednesday 27 February.

Students and teachers enjoyed a session given by the well-known fitness guru, who got people to take their heartbeat and calculate their heartbeats per minute before and after the exercises.

Alongside diet and health – including cutting down on sugar and artificial sweeteners – sleep was one of the topics on the agenda at the event. The teachers were surprised to learn that many students were getting less than seven hours of sleep at night, which can impact on their performance or experience in school. Karl spoke about putting phones away after 8pm, noting the impact of blue light on sleep.

Taking part in the physical and mental challenge at the launch of Wellness Week in Kildare Community College
Photos: Piotr Kwasnik

For children between 9 and 16, the National Health Service in the UK recommends between 9 and 10 hours of sleep every night (depending on the age). More than 10 hours is recommended for younger ages.

“He was talking about… how the top rugby players get 12 hours’ sleep at night in during the season for optimum performance,” said school guidance counsellor Elizabeth Urell. “It was a fantastic launch. Karl did a great session with the junior and senior cycle students.”

The launch led nicely into the school’s wellbeing week, which ran from Monday 4 to Friday 8 March and aimed to get students thinking about their mental and physical health. The school was a hive of activity during those five days, with students and teachers engaging with the initiative and enjoying the broad programme of events, which included mindfulness/meditation spaces, a healthy lunch competition, a nutrition and exercise talk, and a wellbeing poster competition.

A number of Joe Wicks HIIT (high intensity interval training) sessions were also held during the week, as well as lunchtime penalty shootouts, circuit sessions, yoghurt and fruit samples, a wellbeing board, and a funky sock day to raise awareness for positive self-esteem and mental health.

Ms Urell explained that a lot of the activities were designed to establish a connection with the school and create a positive and happy atmosphere.

“There’s a positive vibe amongst the student population,” she said. “A long-term aim is to put the focus on wellbeing and health, and also to generate a positive atmosphere in the school.”

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