By James Bakama
IT was one of those functions that almost passed unnoticed. Several fitness and wellness instructors from various health clubs converged at Hotel Africana to launch an umbrella organization that will oversee their activities.
The Federation of Sports and Physical Instructors and Masseuses Limited will ensure that good standards are maintained in this sector. The body will also act as an advocacy tool for the right trainers.
“We want to ensure that health clubs around the country deliver quality services,” explained Dr. Suleiman Fit, the vice president of the new body that is headed by Jeff Ojik.
That could have easily passed as ordinary talk.
With cameras clicking away and recorders also at work, why not talk big? But this was not just mere PR. This is a serious group out to clean up a sector that has in its two decade existence had its shortfalls.
Most health clubs in the country are run by masqueraders who don’t know a thing about physical fitness.
I have for instance seen potbellied clients being led through rigorous sit ups yet this drill has been globally banned because of its disastrous effect on the backbone. Then you have “instructors” who tell you that sauna and steam bath are intended to cut weight.
Is it therefore surprising that many people who have sought the help of some of these “health clubs” have instead left with serious injuries?
This is a sector that requires specialized training. Today you even have our universities training sports scientists who are well equipped for this task.
Elite Athletes who have had specialized training for several years are also well suited for this task.
Hotel Africana’s Hussein Khalil, a former national boxer, who also featured in Germany’s Bundesliga boxing circuit, is a classic example.
One of the tasks that Ojik and his executive will start with is certification of trainers. There are also serious plans for clinics.
Besides linking up with line ministries like Health and education and sports, Ojik said the new body has also linked up with foreign organisations. “We shall be sending our trainers abroad for courses.”
For starters, the body, which during the launch even had a practical session, has organized a family day out at the Kololo airstrip this Sunday.
The event will besides having physical fitness activities for all age groups, also have activities like health talks from specialists covering topics like obesity, HIV, and high blood pressure. There will also be blood donation.
Such initiatives need backing from all the relevant authorities. A dynamic fitness federation with a national presence will certainly boost health.
A healthy population in turn translates into a more productive mass that ultimately results in more development.