During school closure, Year 6 teacher, Mr Colin Ayliffe, ran an informative, online e-JAWS (Job-Alike Workshops) session for teachers across the FOBISIA network on the all-important subject of personal wellbeing. An ex-personal trainer and holistic lifestyle coach, Mr Ayliffe was the perfect candidate to speak about 'How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy', and provide handy hints and tips to his fellow teaching professionals.
Encouraging attendees to apply the principles to themselves before advising their students, the online CPD webinar focussed on four pillars to leading a healthy life; nutrition, exercise, relaxation and sleep.
"Education often focuses on academic achievement, but the fact is that students achieve more when they are in better physical and mental health. It is important to emphasise the role of wellbeing in a happy and successful education" he said.
On nutrition, Mr Ayliffe spoke of people's need to cut down on simple sugars, drink more water, and create your meals rather than eating processed foods.
"The effects of a modern diet are numerous but can include headaches, anxiety, weight gain, diabetes and depression. The food we eat helps repair and replace the cells in our body, so if we are replacing cells with processed and refined foods, the outcomes are not very good."
Exercise, Mr Ayliffe says, is more than just a vehicle to get fit. Getting up and moving reduces stress, increases blood flow and creates positive mental health. However, often he witnesses people overdoing exercise without understanding what works best for them.
"It is imperative to match your exercise to your personal situation. High-intensity workouts are not the best fit for everyone."
Managing stressors by finding time to relax ensures our workloads do not get out of control. According to Mr Ayliffe activities such as meditation, yoga and breathing exercises help keep our mind clear and minimise the damage stress can do our bodies.
"You have probably heard the saying, stress kills. It is true. Over time stress can cause many negative outcomes. For young people, it is important to form good habits to take with them in later life. Ensuring they have ample time to relax and reset is as important as anything else."
Finally, Mr Ayliffe spoke of how important a good night's sleep is to our minds and bodies. Without a natural sleep, our brain has no time to repair psychologically, and our body has no time to improve physically. Rest is the cheapest and most effective way to reinvigorate our body, and not getting enough is detrimental to our wellbeing.
"I speak to some of my students in Year 6, and they are not getting to sleep until midnight. Most of the time, they are staring at their phones as well, which tricks your brain into thinking it is still daytime and interrupts natural sleep cycles"
Mr Ayliffe emphasised to the 30-plus participants that it was essential to practice these activities themselves, and then share and encourage students to apply their learning. That way, teachers can bring their own experiences of eating better, relaxing, exercising and sleeping into their lessons.
Students and staff at Riverside will soon have access to a range of new conditioning facilities to help themselves in top physical shape. Read more about our new sports performance complex, as well as our brand new STEM building HERE