Need a Well-Being Boost?

Marymount’s new fitness centre and locker rooms are now open to students and staff

Mibu Tako, Staff Writer

After two years of ‘unprecedented’ events, we may have forgotten how to count months on the calendar. In case you were wondering, it is now March, the beginning of Spring and the time of year when crocuses start to bloom, robins start to chirp, and people start to leave their houses without a coat… only to remember that they are in London, and it is still cold. Despite the lingering cold, March is Marymount’s Well-being Month 

 According to the Oxford English Dictionary, ‘well-being’ is the state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous. While Oxford refers to this as physical, psychological, or moral welfare, discussions in this article will be based around physical health and welfare.  

Physical activity plays a significant role in enhancing our wellbeing. Not only does it prevent injuries or other medical issues, but it can also boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety or stress. It has been proven even a short 10-minute walk can increase mental alertness, energy, and positive mood. 

Recently, a survey was sent out to students in Grade 11 in order to find out about their daily fitness habits. In response to the question “Approximately how much time per day on average do you spend on exercising?”, 52.9% of those surveyed selected the option “less than 30 minutes”. Within those options, “I do not exercise at all” was the most popular (29.4%). These responses may point to problems with the physical health of high school students, as the NHS suggests that “children and young people aged 5 to 18 should aim for an average of at least 60 minutes of moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity a day across the week.” The majority surveyed stated that they simply do not have enough time given their long to-do-lists and schoolwork.  

 As a solution to this lack of time, Mrs Gregory, the Head of Physical Education and Sports recommends “a stroll around our beautiful campus during a free period.” She explains,March is a wonderful time to start getting outdoors. The days are longer, and we are starting to see the sun more often. Well-being is not just about physical health, but also about mental and emotional health. Even the PE teachers schedule time in their busy days to get a personal workout in, go for a walk with a friend, do a yoga flow, etc.”. 

 Another reason students give for the little time spent on daily exercise is that “the gym is (was) closed”. Yes indeed, our school gym has been under construction for over 10 months and students had not been allowed to utilise the facilities during this period. Fortunately, the renewal of the Sports Hall was finally finished last month, and the building is now available to all members of the school community. This will give many people the opportunity to enjoy exercise without the need to find time outside of school. Mrs Gregory shared with us what’s new in the Sports Hall: “We have expanded the workout space in the fitness suite to offer different workout zones. There is now a dedicated Cardio space, free weight space and then open studio space. There are improved changing areas and toilets for students as well as separate shower rooms and toilets for staff. The PE offices have been moved to the newly created 2nd floor with more space for faculty.” Below is the list of equipment that will be available in the fitness centre as of this Friday, 25 March: 

  1. Cardio equipment: spin bikes, rowing machine, elliptical, skipping ropes, punching bag and treadmills. 
  2. Weights and resistance: Med balls, kettlebells, dumb bells, Les Mills barbell system, resistance band, TRX and steps 
  3. Subscriptions to Les Mills On Demand and Beachbody On Demand for spin, cardio, and weightlifting classes 

 In spite of this exciting news, there are a few things to be mindful of when using the fitness suite: “Only students in grades 9-12 can use the space without a teacher. They must have a gym induction and a parent permission form signed before this can happen. All students MUST have a workout partner for safety reasons. There will be times the space is used during PE classes for younger students. Grade 9-12 students my use the space during their frees and after school until 6pm. At that time, it is open to boarding students only,” says Mrs Gregory. 

 Now that we have a grasp of the amazing facilities in the new Sports Hall, some of you may be wondering why the school decided to renew the infrastructure in the first place. Mrs Gregory explained that “the sports hall was originally built in the early 1980’s. With the continued growth of the sports department at Marymount and the renewed importance on personal health and well-being, the school reflected on the need to provide up to date facilities. The new space is something we can all be proud of and impacts the whole of the Marymount Community.” 

 Why don’t we embrace well-being by seeking ways to stay physically active in the most enjoyable and stress-free way possible? As Rachael Bermingham once said, “It’s not about having enough time, it’s about making enough time.”