Teens are busy people; between family, school and studying, spending time with friends and, of course, social media, they are juggling plenty of demands, interests and responsibilities. During the teenage years, due to these extracurricular activities and responsibilities, many begin to lose interest in physical activity and unfortunately this is more prominent with teenage girls.
Physical activity keeps teenage bodies and minds fit and healthy and cannot be ignored. Research has proven maintaining active lifestyles during teenage years continuing into adulthood will aid to minimise future health problems.
Cayman International School recognises the importance of promoting physical activity to its students so they can sustain a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle, both physically and mentally.
At Cayman International School there are multiple sport teams for the elementary school, middle school and high school. Many students participate on these teams each year.
Not everyone, including many teenage girls, like to play sports though.
For these girls, secondary school Spanish teacher Julia Meyerhoff developed an idea to create the “Fitness for Girls Club.” The club meets weekly on Wednesday afternoons during the school year and offers an opportunity for teenage girls who are not involved with team sports to get physical exercise outside the scheduled physical education classes.
The club promotes the idea that girls don’t need to go to a fancy gym or lift weights to be able to exercise. Girls participating in the club develop a foundation of love for exercise, learning the safety aspects to prevent injuries and, most importantly, having fun at the same time.
Not only does the club offer physical benefits, but it also offers positive mental effects to the teenage girls participating. Fitness activities assist teenagers to maintain a positive body image and reduce stress and depression. “This is a great push for girls physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually,” Miss Julia says.
Cayman International School Director of Athletics and Activities Colin Crumpton says the Fitness for Girls Club is a great opportunity for the girl students to spend quality time with their peers. Occurring in a single-gender setting where girls can limit feelings of insecurity or embarrassment, the club allows its participants to show their best selves and give it their all, he says.
The Fitness for Girls Club is only in its first year, but has been a success with enrolment, with each session fully subscribed with 25 participants. The club has helped support the idea that girls can be sporty and feminine at the same time, and that it is acceptable for girls to sweat and play hard.
Lauren Colaiacovo is a Grade 8 student at Cayman International School.