Time to Break a Sweat and Bust a Move

You know that feeling too well, when you step off the treadmill, wipe the last bead of sweat off your brow after a hot yoga class, or finish a long hike. You get that rush of energy, your mood is uplifted  and you feel confident to take on whatever the day may bring your way. The physical and mental benefits of regular physical activity are hard to ignore and are yours for the taking - regardless of your age, sex, or socioeconomic status. While your goal may be just to shake off a case of the Mondays, exercise offers countless additional health benefits throughout a lifetime. According to a publication by the Institute of Medicine released this month, physical activity is strongly linked to maintaining physical and cognitive function. This in turn has been associated with older adults maintaining independence and developing fewer cognitive conditions later in life.

At Tomorrow’s Youth Organization (TYO), we recognize that the women of Nablus are especially prone to deprioritizing their own needs in order to take care of others. Given the negative impact lack of exercise can have on a woman’s cognitive and physical function as they age, The Women’s Group (TWG) provides women in Nablus with a few hours every week dedicated to their own health and well-being. This week, TWG launched the summer 2015 program for women residing in refugee camps and disadvantaged neighborhoods in Nablus, with a priority for mothers of children in TYO’s Core Child Program. This summer’s TWG program will offer IT seminars as well as health and nutrition classes alongside seminars related to women’s empowerment in the community. This session boasts over 60 women who are eager to break a sweat, bust a move, and learn the basics of healthy living and nutrition.

Zahi Khouri fellow, Vanessa, kicks off the 2015 summer session for TWG.

On the first day of class, TYO evaluated the women’s baseline understanding of health and their fitness levels based on international standards. This was accomplished by a brief written assessment of general knowledge regarding fitness and a physical test of cardiovascular health, flexibility, and muscular strength. Trepidatious at first, the group now enthusiastically competes to be the first to complete their exercises amidst fits of laughter. The next two months will be filled with critical health and wellness education, fun exercises the women can perform at home and a little friendly competition to boot.

We are thrilled to bring these women together. By breaking isolation and focusing on health and wellness as we build confidence, skills, and relationships that we hope will last a lifetime.

-Zahi Khouri Fellow, Vanessa