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A Breath of Fresh Air....

A breath of fresh air in the morning.

Congratulations to us! We won at Twickenham again! Not only are we amazing at rugby, we can feel confident that we’re contributing vital elements to our boys’ well-being: fresh air and exercise! Go, us!

But hang on a minute. Not every boy who comes to Warwick School enjoys rugby and there’s a considerable number who don’t enjoy sport at all. What do we do about them? Tell them to ‘man-up’ and ‘get on with it’ because they jolly well should enjoy it?

It took me a long time to ‘get’ any sense of what other people were enjoying about sport. I’m not uncoordinated or inactive but sport never grabbed me. Why would I want to ‘beat’ anyone? What was the point of spending time hitting a ball around? Why would I put myself in a position where I might let others down or be let down by them? Isn’t co-operation more healthy than competition? And so on.

It wasn’t until I was at Oxford and was coerced into coxing that I discovered some of the pleasure and satisfaction of being in a team and began to ‘get’ it. But I still haven’t taken up a sport long-term.

For me, it’s exercise in the fresh air that hits the spot, not sport. I walk Rosa for miles, I run, I swim and I cycle without any competitive aspect. This is how I keep fit, stress bust and keep my endorphin levels up. Crucially, I walk or cycle to and from school – that way my exercise slots into my day on work days with no extra effort required – and no extra time, I notice, as I cycle or march past the queues of traffic in Warwick and Leamington! I also arrive at work feeling invigorated and with my head clear.

So what can I encourage for pupils, who, like me aren’t into sport and who tend to gradually decrease the amount they do as they progress through the school?

Simple. Get them to walk or cycle to school or for at least part of their journey. If they come by car, drop them a mile from school and let them walk the rest of the way. This way, they’ll get a blast of fresh air and get their blood flowing and brains stimulated before they get to school. We might see fewer boys yawning through first period!

I know some boys come burdened with bags and instruments so on some days this won’t be possible. I know some boys are anxious about being teased by pupils from other schools – but managing that is a useful transferable skill and will build resilience. I know many boys come by bus or train - but they might be able to walk to and from their bus stop or station. I know this is not at as simple as I make it sound but I believe it’s worth thinking about putting into action. It’s good for both mind and body, it would certainly help to reduce the congestion around the school – and it wouldn’t do the sporty types any harm either!

You might find this link interesting: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq3hxfr

Meg Harper