Saturday, December 8, 2012

Health Fair burns more than 31,000 calories

By Naomi Ambrose, Douglife Student Marketing and Promotions Team

Standing in the concourse among the large crowd of Douglas College students and staff at the 2012 Douglas College Health Fair Nov. 21, I met Omar, an ESL student, as he proudly looked at his name on the board as a platinum donor. One of the primary objectives of the event, put on by Douglife, was to engage the college community to come together and burn 30,000 calories through a series of exercises on different equipment.

Based on the number of calories burned, participants were ranked as silver, gold or platinum donors, and their names were displayed on a large chart. Since Omar burned over 300 calories, he was ranked as a platinum donor. Thanks to the calorie donors’ participation and enthusiasm, the college community burned over 31,000 calories! Omar, along with constant stream of donors throughout the day, highlighted the importance of regular exercise, along with the pride and joy we all feel after achieving our goals.

Research has shown that exercise can help students to achieve their academic goals. In a 2006 article, Is Physical Fitness Raising Grades? Kathleen Vail, senior editor of the American School Board Journal, referred to a 2004 study conducted by the California Department of Education that found “students who do better on academic achievement tests are also more physically fit than their peers.”

Vail also said, “[s]tudents who get regular …exercise are better able to concentrate when they are in the classroom…Regular exercise can [also] alleviate stress, anxiety and depression – problems that can affect school performance…”

I could tell that Catherine, an Arts student, was happy that she attended the Health Fair. “I learned how to make a little stress ball” she said, while holding her creation, made with a balloon, a funnel and flour, firmly in her hand, as if illustrating her confidence that the ball would help to reduce her stress during exam time.

As Catherine left the concourse, I noticed she was reading her health training dossier that she got at the fair from the Douglife team. Perhaps she was reading the valuable health tips. Perhaps she was looking at the dossier as a reminder of the fabulous prizes that she could win as a result of engaging with at least six of the booths and completing some short activities. Whatever her reasons for reading the dossier, one thing was certain: Catherine left the fair with more knowledge and practical health tips to help her during her years at Douglas and beyond.

And that’s why the 2012 Douglas College Health Fair was a unique and memorable event for students like Omar and Catherine. It provided an opportunity for them to learn that living a healthier lifestyle or becoming health literate is more exciting than we may think. The fair also illustrated the importance of students getting engaged in a common cause, and that coming together to achieve personal and collective goals can have impacts far beyond the event itself; in this case a contingent of hundreds of well-informed students engaged in the battle for health.