leadforensics People: Justine Williams
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People: Justine Williams

Les Mills BORN TO MOVE Business Development Manager

Published in Health Club Management 2017 issue 6
Williams wants to link the penpal scheme with Change 4 Life
Williams wants to link the penpal scheme with Change 4 Life
I came up with the pen pal scheme as a way of engaging schools: they can use Born to Move as a cross curricular activity, allowing youngsters to learn about different languages, countries and cultures.

What is Born to Move?
Set up over five years ago, this programme is the first from Les Mills to be aimed at children. As the early years are a critical window for forming positive habits, we are on a mission to get more children moving.

BORN TO MOVE uses dance, yoga, martial arts and athletic skills set to music. There are a number of classes aimed at different age groups: starting with two to three-year-olds and going up to adolescents.

The programme fits in with education, public sector, charitable and CSR agendas. A research study with Edge Hill University showed that two 30-minute Born to Move classes per week brought increased muscular and cardiovascular benefits, as well as improved confidence in being active and provided increased levels of physical activity to support a PE lesson, where the focus is on learning skills.

What was the motivation for setting it up?
Young people are born to move, but in our modern world they are losing out on the opportunities for active play and the fundamental skills and self esteem which that develops. Reduced physical activity is a major contributor to chronic health problems and there’s growing evidence of a direct link between fitness and academic and social success.

How did the pen pal scheme come about?
My role is to introduce BORN TO MOVE to sectors focusing on improving levels of youth physical activity, demonstrating how flexible and adaptive the programming can be in different sectors. I came up with the pen pal scheme as a way of engaging schools: they can use BORN TO MOVE as a cross curricular activity, allowing youngsters to link being active with learning about different languages, countries and cultures.

So far we have kicked off one successful project, linking a Yorkshire primary school with a school in Shenzhen, China. The children filmed themselves doing the same workout, shared the results and then wrote letters to each other, asking questions like what they ate for breakfast and if they had any pets. The letters were posted and they were all delighted to receive letters from across the world.

How are you planning to take the programme forward?
Going forward, we want to encourage more schools, in more countries, to get involved. As well as networking with schools, I’m speaking to ukactive about how to roll it out.
Ultimately, I would love to be involved with Change 4 Life and also get the pen pal scheme working outside of schools as well, which is something the health and fitness sector could engage with.

A letter between students
A letter between students
Pupils in Shenzhen, China were linked up with a school in Yorkshire
Pupils in Shenzhen, China were linked up with a school in Yorkshire
http://www.leisureopportunities.com/images/530653_77699.jpg
Justin Williams on Les Mills' Born to Move programme, getting kids active through dance, yoga, martial arts and athletic skills set to music.
Les Mills
Les Mills
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