Fitness should be a family affair


“We’ve got to educate the children but also educate the parents,” Ceri Hannan, head of programme development and innovations at Virgin Active South Africa told CNBC Africa on Friday.

He further explained that families need to change their lifestyles. For instance, parents and children should start taking more walks together to the beach, parks or even the shops.

According to pharmaceutical company, Glaxo SmithKline and the Medical Research Council of South Africa, South Africa has become the third fattest nation in the world, just below Mexico and the United States of America.


Hannan believes that the issue can be tackled through educating people about the importance of exercise and diet, but to do so in a fun and interactive way.

“Our statistics show that if we engage people in a group activity, it’s got to be fun, it’s got to be achievable and there’s got to be some accomplishment at the end of that,” he added.

Another important factor that ensures individuals commit to their workout routines is by creating a sense of community around exercising.

For instance, a group of cyclists that meet every morning to go riding together will be more committed to the workout than those that exercise individually at a gym. 

“I think the sense of belonging, of creating some kind of sense of community is massively [important],” he added.

While all this may sound easy enough, the fact is that most South Africans don’t have the time to exercise due to their busy lifestyles.

Hannan therefore proposes that individuals perform high intensity exercises for short periods at their preferred location, such as at home or in the park.

Virgin Active, for example, has a new 24 workout programme which allows busy individuals to train for short periods but still get fit.  

“Its 24 exercises in 24 minutes, it’s very high intensity interval training,” he said.

Also, Hannan added, workout programs are not just for young people, it’s for the older generations too.

“It’s not just about the young, fit, good looking people out there, so we’re trying to make our product all inclusive. We just want to get South Africa moving, it’s as simple as that,” he concluded.