Each month, each week and each day, our bodies pass through many stages of activity and rest, consciousness and sleep. Indeed it is now known that there are many stages or cycles, some lasting a year or longer, but which all living things experience. So there is a great demand towards sports and pursuing an active lifestyle.
In our rapidly changing society there is increasing community awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles. The resultant good health is characterised by improved quality of life, less sickness and disability; happier personal, family and social experiences and the opportunity to make choices in work and recreation. Individuals lead a healthy lifestyle when they live in a way that allows them the greatest chance of achieving and maintaining mental, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing. When individuals are well informed on health issues and have a sense of control about the decisions they make, they are more likely to experience positive relationships, improved quality of life and less illness.
There are so many activities one can do to keep fit at school, in the workplace, or at home. Examples include a good workout at the gym, jogging, and swimming. A global growing sport is jump rope or the plain old skipping rope as a form of fitness exercise. The humble skipping rope is the primary tool used in the game, played by children and many young adults across the world. Skipping is where one or more participants jump over a rope swung so that it passes under the feet and over the head. It is commonly done in villages where the skipping rope made out of banana fibres. Skipping encompasses a series of moves, dance and simple floor exercises which can be accompanied by music for greater enjoyment and impact.
All sports require great care and attention to detail. Any activity has its dangers if not performed well. Skipping can be fun. Boxers use complex skipping patterns as both warm ups and to improve lightness of footwork and coordination. Skipping is one of the best exercises to raise the body temperature, which is light and continuous movements like simple jogging.
It helps to avoid knee damage which may occur during running, since the impact of each hump or step is absorbed by both legs simultaneously. Skipping also helps to strengthen the upper arms and shoulders. It is a popular form of exercise for wrestlers, many badminton and tennis players around the world.
World Rope skipping championships are held in July every other year in countries like Canada, Austria, United Kingdom, Australia, USA, Belgium, China, India, South Africa, Japan, Denmark, Germany, among others, take part in these championships. It would be prestigious for Rwanda to join such a list.
The youth more especially, should engage in physical activities every day in as many ways as they can. Health experts agree that all people should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day for health benefits. I believe if skipping was introduced in schools at both primary and secondary levels, through clubs or by other means, this can develop a lifestyle of physical activity and longer term, lead to organising youth tournaments, similar to those mentioned previously. It can improve both our children’s health and the quality of their lives thus fighting obesity and other related diseases.
The writer is the swimming coach at Riviera High School