The tables were turned on Derry City Council’s fitness instructors when a group of young Derry mums got their own back.
Forty local mothers, who signed up to the Parents Together programme - an exciting new health and fitness regime - earlier this year, gave as good as they got during a fun filled ‘train the trainers’ day at Templemore Sports Complex.
The Derry City Council fitness team were put through their paces by the participants in the programme in a series of events which showed just how much the young mothers had learned during the six month programme.
Michelle Sloan, from Culmore, said it was great for the girls to get their own back on the lads led by Community Health Manager for Derry City Council, Thomas McCallion.
“This was our chance to show what we have learned from the team and, of course, put them through some of the challenges we’ve had to face in the last few months.”
Thomas - along with his team John Paul Glenn, Sean Hargan, Shaun Heaney and Daniel Quigley - has been supervising gym workouts and teaching the ladies key lifestyle tips since they started the course.
The main aim of the drive is to promote healthy living not only among the 40 participants but to ensure that they in turn are urged to encourage their family members to adopt healthier lifestyles.
As part of the health drive, which is based at Templemore Sports Complex, the participating mothers have undertaken three supervised exercise sessions each week. But there’s been much more to the project than workouts alone. The mothers have also benefited from a weekly healthy lifestyle session, incorporating talks from health practitioners such as GPs, dentists, physiotherapists and family support workers passing on valuable skills and knowledge on general family health. The group has also taken part in weekly weight management and cookery sessions as well as undergoing regular health and fitness assessments to monitor the progress of individuals.
Some the ladies have also been given the support and encouragement they needed to kick their smoking habits. Michelle said: “They even helped me give up smoking by getting me on to an eight week long smoking course which educated me about the awful chemicals I was putting into my body every time I smoked.” She added: “Participating in this programme has really changed our thinking about our lifestyles and changed them for the better, not only for us but also for our children and families. We did things we couldn’t have done without the trainers - they’ve really been great and we’d all like to thank them for their fantastic support and encouragement.”
The Parents Together programme has been developed by the council’s Sports Development team with the support of The Public Health Agency (PHA) to provide opportunities to improve and health and wellbeing. The new project has a particular aim to improve nutrition and to increase physical activity among under represented and vulnerable groups, explains project leader Thomas McCallion, Community Health Manager for Derry City Council. “The Parents Together Programme is one of many projects being rolled out by Derry City Council with the help of the PHA that will see many of our most vulnerable groups being engaged in regular health activities. This project is unique in that it will work exclusively with 40 mothers and in doing so give them the opportunity to not only get healthier and fitter but allow them to learn new skills and knowledge that will underpin the health of their families as a whole.”