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Freedom Leisure sets sights on tackling youth inactivity

As part of the ongoing push across the physical activity sector to engage youngsters in exercise from an early age, Freedom Leisure is to train staff in providing fitness classes and gym sessions tailored to teenagers.

Staff at each of the trust’s 30 leisure sites across Sussex, Kent and Surrey have received specialist training in recent weeks, ahead of plans to roll out teen fitness training across the Freedom Leisure portfolio from January 2015.

The intensive two-day courses have seen fitness staff take the Adapting Fitness Instruction for Adolescents course developed and accredited by Active IQ. The course is designed to provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to adapt fitness instruction to accommodate adolescents, with particular focus on how physiological and psychological issues faced by teenagers affect their ability and motivation to exercise.

“Overweight and inactive teenagers remain a cause for concern within our society, with around 15 per cent of school leavers being classified as obese,” said Freedom Leisure fitness and wellbeing manager Richard Merrick.

“I believe there is an opportunity and indeed obligation for community leisure centres to provide classes and supervised gym sessions that are both appealing and suitable for teenagers.

“We have ample space in our gyms and studios and can tap into the natural lull in our timetables between 4-6pm, meaning teenagers can come in after school and be finished before the evening classes start and adults arrive after work.”

There has been a flurry of childhood activity initiatives in recent months, with Places for People Leisure announcing a tie-up with popular IP Peppa Pig and Fit For Sport joining forces with the Power Rangers brand to extoll the virtues of regular exercise and a healthy diet.

As part of Freedom’s training initiative, all participating staff will study the Development of adolescents in relation to fitness instruction unit. They then have the option to study one or both of the additional units Principles of adapting gym instruction for adolescents and the Principles of adapting group exercise for adolescents. The programme will then be taught to new members of staff as they join Freedom Leisure, to ensure ample coverage across all sites for teen fitness supervision.

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As part of the ongoing push across the physical activity sector to engage youngsters in exercise from an early age, leisure trust Freedom Leisure is to train its staff in providing fitness classes and gym sessions tailored to teenagers.
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Freedom Leisure staff have attended two-day courses during December ahead of the initiative's January roll out
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