Thursday, May 17th, 2018.

Excelsior Academy fitness sessions boosting physical and mental well-being

Excelsior Academy teachers are reaping the rewards of an exercise programme boosting physical health and mental well-being – and benefitting pupils in the classroom.

Such has been the positive impact of the twice-weekly, high intensity fitness sessions that PE teacher Kris Glenwright hopes to roll out the ‘Fitness Camps’ across all Laidlaw Trust schools.

Staff have praised the hour-long sessions for helping them manage stress levels, improve self confidence and promote a positive mindset in all aspects of their lives.

More than 30 people – teachers and support staff – have attended the planned sessions which include shuttle runs, boxing and weights work under the supervision of Excelsior’s PE teachers.

Data collected from participants reveals:

  • A total weight loss of 34kg from the 15 staff members who most regularly attended
  • 114 questionnaires completed by participants, with 100% reporting an improvement in mood after the exercise sessions
  • The responders reported improved self confidence, self perception and improvements in relationships with pupils they teach
  • Staff enjoy social aspects of the exercise sessions, meeting people they otherwise would not meet

Comments from teachers include: “After the sessions I feel much better about myself and more able to tackle challenges at work and get perspective. I feel I’ve been much more focused and productive after sessions and have a lot more energy despite being shattered!”

Another teacher said: “Fit camp has made a huge difference to all aspects of my life. I eat better and have far less migraines. I am now much more active outside of work after seeing the positive impact on my physical and mental health that fit camp has.

“I have developed relationships with colleagues who I would usually have little or no contact with. I am more focused, motivated and resilient.”

PE teacher Kris, who leads the fitness camps with fellow PE teacher Martin Pluskal, said: “The reaction from staff has been universally positive and shows the importance of making time in our busy daily lives for exercise.

“We established the fitness camps to boost physical fitness but the benefits to the sense of mental well-being stand out in the feedback we have from those taking part.

“Staff like the fact that we stage these classes in school straight after the working day, which fits better into their routines. They leave our sessions feeling energised and with a greater sense of purpose and well-being.”

Excelsior Academy Executive Principal Craig Taylor spearheads a ‘Let’s Get Physical’ health and well-being programme for staff across the school, recognising the important benefits it brings to teachers and pupils.

“The feedback from the fitness camp emphasises the importance of physical fitness and mental health at work,” said Craig.

“Teachers who are motivated, energised and confident promote a positive learning environment in the classroom for pupils with all the benefits that brings to their personal development and academic progress.”