09 November 2011

Students in the gym

Long hours sitting in lectures, in the library and in front of the computer make it tricky to find time to exercise.


Long hours sitting in lectures, in the library and in front of the computer make it tricky to find time to exercise. A UNISA survey found that 54% of students didn’t practise vigorous physical activity on three of the seven days per week. Black students, the survey said, were significantly more likely to participate in moderate physical activities than white students.

Gym personnel at the University of Stellenbosch and University Of Cape Town give a different and more positive view of the students, at least in their respective universities.

Gustav Venter, Marketing Manager of the Stellenbosch University Sport Performance Institute (SUSPI) says there are approximately 15% (3400) students currently using the university’s gymnasium.

At the University of Cape Town, gym manager Frans Mamabolo says, in general, students are healthy - however he was concerned that more males than female students are using the gym.

Luckily at Stellenbosch this is not the case: Venter says it is tied at 50/50 as far as the number of male and female users is concerned.

Mamabolo says the first- year students are reluctant to join the gym as they are still trying to find their way around the university, so they tend to join in the second year.

Venter though, says the university has no way of telling the exact number of first-year students using the gym but, “but we do believe that there is a fairly large portion of these students making use of the Gymnasium.”

Reasonable gym prices

Gym membership prices are the same for everyone at R450 per year and the facilities are open Mondays to Fridays from 08h30 to 16h00.  For off-peak membership you pay R250 per year. Off-peak members can only use the UCT Gym between 08h30 and 15h00, Mondays to Sundays.

Venter fears that lowering the prices “would not allow us to offer the same quality service to our members. We do not differentiate ourselves on price, but rather on the total package that we present to our members”.

Recently, food services company, Compass Group Southern Africa placed SA as the 3rd fattest nation in the whole world.

There is hope that this stands to change if the current crop of students is our yardstick.

(Siphiwo Nkonki, Health24, November 2011)


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