An increasing number of students today are overweight, inactive and suffer from low self-confidence. We spoke to Mark Storie, Director of Astley Sports Village, to find out how one college in the UK is tackling this problem.
Astley Sports Village, part of Astley Sports College in Dukenfield, Cheshire, runs a 10-week programme called Make a Difference (M.A.D.) which encourages students to exercise and participate in sport to improve their health and fitness. Storie attributes the success of this programme to five key factors:
Each week, students that meet the M.A.D. guidelines of being significantly overweight use Astley Sports Village to participate in an hour of group physical activity such as hockey, basketball, netball or dodgeball followed by a 20-minute session in the fitness suite.
Astley’s commitment to fitness
In 2014, Astley Sports Village refurbished its 150 square metre fitness suite and installed state-of-the-art Precor equipment including treadmills, Adaptive Motion Trainers (AMT’s), elliptical crosstrainers, recumbent bikes and a selection of Precor strength equipment. These are all equipped with Preva networked fitness and can be accessed using Preva RFID Tokens.
When describing the development of M.A.D, Storie stated:
“The refurbishment of the gym has been crucial to the success of the programme. The students can learn how to train effectively and are able to gain an understanding of how to achieve their goals.”
Storie outlines how during the M.A.D sessions at Astley Sports Village, students are motivated by the high level of technology provided by Precor equipment and the ability to monitor their process using Preva Personal Accounts. This year, to increase commitment and engagement, students will also be able to record their workout sessions using both Preva and MyZone apps on their smartphones.
Storie explains the importance of the new technology by stating:
“Students love the way the system is seamlessly integrated, from logging on with their tokens to accessing their data on their mobile phones. They can use the Preva app to input a long term goal, such as losing weight, and then set specific targets, such as distance, calories or duration. The system also allows them to measure their progress by providing a weekly goal summary and even indicates if they’re on or off target”
Expertise & Dedication
The Sports Village fitness experts are essential for the planning of activities. Their knowledge of fitness helps students to achieve weight loss, improvements to their cardiovascular health, a decrease in their resting heart rates and a transformation in their body shapes.
The school leadership team dedicated to the M.A.D. programme is also a crucial component to its success. Their close relationship with the students helps to maximise commitment from the group and by also participating in the session, they create the feeling that everyone is in it together.
A healthy diet and a new way of thinking
Alongside fitness sessions, students are educated about nutrition to further help them develop a healthy lifestyle. In an after-school nutrition and planning session, a food diary is issued to all students to complete on a weekly basis. This session covers food sources, meal plans and portion control. During the programme, a supermarket visit is also organized to help the students explore the variety of healthy meals available. Students are set the objective of choosing their dinner for that night based on the theory that has been covered in the nutrition session.
Follow Astley Sports Village on twitter: @astleysports