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A game of afternoon soccer organized by fourth-year students at Davis Campus kicked up interest and participating students scored prizes.

Tuesday marked the beginning of a three-day event with afternoon activity bursts to help get students involved in physical activity.

“It was awesome,” said Sheldon Caruna, a third-year student in the Child and Youth Worker program. “It’s great in getting everyone involved. All years come together when something like this happens. You sit in classes all day and get dull, so this is a great way to get you moving.”

Sweating from the exercise, Caruna joked, “It really woke me up, I might even pay attention in class today.”

Canadian physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes a week of physical activity. The MoveU campaign, run with the help of the Davis Health Centre, informs students about how to do their time without a gym.

“It was a good idea,” said Labinot Beqiri, a first-year Police Foundations student. “They should mix it up. Like have football one day then basketball and other fun sports. It’s a lot of fun.”

The University of Toronto and Sheridan are two schools involved in MoveU, said Braniff. Sheridan received $35,000 from ParticipAction and the peer mentors raised $10,000 for prizes such as T-shirts, water bottles, salad shakers, wristbands, stick-on tattoos, yoga mats and Frisbees for participating in on-the-spot activities such as skipping rope.

“We have funding till the end of this year, but we’re hoping to get more funding to carry it on,” said Braniff.

Final-year Exercise Science and Health Promotion program students are using this opportunity to fulfil their co-op requirements and staff is volunteering to supervise them.

Karla Windatt, a peer mentor, said 1,200 questionnaires were sent out across all campuses to find out what kind of slogan was needed, to gauge student readiness, activity suggestions and what was stopping them from getting exercise.

“The barriers were very clear. Lack of time and money, and feeling intimidated and lack of knowledge, particularly with post-secondary students,” said Braniff.

Windatt said physical activity can include, running-on-the-spot, hula hoops, jumping jacks, walking or riding a bike to school, walking the dog, skipping rope or anything that gets people moving.

One fun exercise is called “Junk on the Trunk.” An empty tissue box filled with ping-pong balls is tied it around the waist so the box is at the back. The purpose is to shake the butt hard enough to lose all the balls.

What’s the benefit of doing all this?

Windatt said students report, “ ‘I feel more awake.’ And that’s the more important part, because you don’t do it for the number on the scale. It’ll help you be more alert in class and pay attention.”

The campaign has also had social benefits for shy students.

“The students are learning and their knowledge is increasing about physical activity levels required,” said Braniff. “There are [also] a lot of leadership and motivational skills learned by the peer mentors. It’s collaborative, so they know how to work in a team.”

MoveU will be visiting other Sheridan campuses in the future.

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