Spring Into Summer winners revisited

OUR third Spring Into Summer programme ended on a high in May, when every participant beat their previous fitness test results. A 'best sport' was chosen every year - but how have they fared since? Features editor TRACEY SPARLING catches up with some of the Star readers who became stars themselves, over the past three years.

By Tracey Sparling

OUR third Spring Into Summer programme ended on a high in May, when every participant beat their previous fitness test results. A 'best sport' was chosen every year - but how have they fared since? Features editor TRACEY SPARLING catches up with some of the Star readers who became stars themselves, over the past three years.

THEY would normally have run a mile at the very thought of going to a gym.

But the challenge of a fitness programme where the activities remain secret until you turn up on the day, always attracts more applications than there are places available.


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From orienteering to a treetops assault course, football training at Portman Road to hip hop dancing, the past three years of Spring Into Summer have brought a myriad of new things to try, for Star readers who wouldn't otherwise have tried exercise.

The idea is to encourage exercise and it has proved to be about far more than simply weight loss, with personal achievement and making friends proving to be an added bonus.

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Amid tears and cheers, we followed their ups and downs as they valiantly tackled all we threw their way. This year's programme was organised by The Evening Star, Ipswich Borough Council and personal trainer Matt Goldrick, and the winner's prize was donated by Swallow Belstead Brook Hotel.

These winners were voted for by fellow squad members - and so far women have always turned out to be the popular choice. Will it be time for a man to win next year?

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Look out for application forms in The Evening Star early next year.

Winner in: 2007

Name: Anne Lewis

Age: 56

From: Girton Way, Ipswich

Before Spring Into Summer started she said: “I did try sport, but exercising by myself is 'no go'. I need to get some of my bubbly life back.

After she won: “I've been to the gym for my fitness test and it's great. I am really going to enjoy this.

As a fulltime carer for her husband Anne now fits in exercise when she can and is making the most of her prize which was a year's membership to Swallow Belstead Brook's Leisure Club.

She said: “The instructors gave me a 45-minute programme which includes all sorts of machines and the cross trainer is the worst, but I do love the treadmill. I also do weights, the bench press, pec deck and floor exercises. The only thing I don't like is the wall of mirrors so I end up watching my feet on the treadmill.

“I saw Rebecca (reporter who helped organise Spring Into Summer) in tesco the other day as I was going to buy my Star - and no we didn't check each other's trolleys out to see if they contained healthy things. I've just been away on holiday and am hoping to get back down to Belstead Brook this week.”

Winner in: 2006

Name: Carol Szyszlyk

Age 40

From: Maybury Road, Ipswich

Before Spring Into Summer started: “I try to play basketball with the kids at work. I will be 40 in September 2006 so it is about time to sort myself out. I want to be fab, fit and 40!”

Today Carol has changed job from being a behaviour support assistant with 8-14 year olds, to a year manager at Chantry High School. One of her first tasks in her new job was to help organise an activity camp for the pupils - with abseiling and rock climbing which she had learned at Spring into Summer!

“It prepared me quite well, “ she said. “I think the high ropes assault course which we did at High Lodge in Thetford is the activity which sticks in my mind the most.

“I'm not getting a lot of time to exercise but I do walk miles around the school site every day!

She said keeping an eye on her fitness and weight was still important to her as she approaches her 41st birthday. He added: “It's hard in the winter months and I want to see some summer sun so I can get out, exercise, and sweat a bit!”

Winner in: 2005

Name: Tina White

Age: 51

From: Vicarage Road, Felixstowe

Before Spring Into Summer started she said: “Since losing my father the weight has piled on and I wanted to get motivated and prove something.”

Today she laughed: “I'm still fat and happy!

“My health hasn't deteriorated any more and I had an MOT recently which said everything was okay. I just have a few more wrinkles!

“I do see some of my old teammates occasionally in town, including Lorinda Hall and we always have a laugh and chat about what we got up to. Spring Into Summer was the best thing I have ever done, it really was, and I've kept an eye on it every year since.”

Participant in: 2005

Mary Snape didn't win but the programme changed her life - which is the biggest prize going!

Name: Mary Snape

Age: 65

From: Westwood Avenue, Ipswich

Before Spring Into Summer started: “I really want to be as fit as possible during my retirement years, and make the most of life.”

Today she said: “It was the kickstart I needed. I lost some weight during the programme and lost 3.5stones in total - and have kept it off for 18 months. I go to the gym twice a week and eat sensibly so I find my weight stays stable now, even if I do dip into the grandchildren's sweet tin every on occasion!

“I am taking my grandchildren to Go Ape! (aerial assault course in Thetford Forest) this summer because I really enjoyed that. I remember the hardest part was pulling myself up the rope net.

“I feel so much better in myself and don't have as many aches and pains as I did before. Eating sensibly and exercising has become a way of life for me. It's really all down to Spring Into Summer.”]

MORE than 70 per cent of people in the UK do not get enough exercise to benefit their health.

Ipswich Borough Council's Sports Services Team have come up with ideas to help you enjoy an all-round healthy lifestyle.

Men and women of all ages benefit from a moderate amount of daily physical activity and it doesn't have to be strenuous exercise. Thirty minutes of brisk walking five times per week is a good example. Start gently and build up your activity levels.

• Take the stairs instead of lifts or walk up escalators

• Park the car a bit further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way

• Manually change channels on the TV instead of using the remote control

• Walk as often as you can, as if you are late for an appointment or aiming to catch a train.

Always check with your doctor if you have a health problem or are worried about increasing your physical activity.

Walks Brisk walking is an ideal way to become more active.

It is cheap, fun and an activity most people can do. That's why Sports Services have teamed up with the Ipswich Primary Care trust to profile a series of walks in the town's parks including the historic Chantry, Christchurch and Holywells parks. You can view and print off maps of each of the walks and printable directions at www.ipswich.gov.uk/Sport/HealthyLifestyle.

Stress

Stress is an umbrella term given to the adverse reaction people can have to excessive pressures or demands placed on them. Prolonged exposure to these excessive pressures when they exceed your perceived resources or coping ability can lead to unhealthy physical, emotional, mental and behavioural symptoms.

Stress is becoming the single biggest medical problem for employers in the UK. Although a certain level of stress is inevitable in today's modern world (and is in fact good for you), excessive levels cause problems.

Physical activity can also be a great way to relieve stress and tension and help you to relax.

Nutrition

What you eat is very important to maintain good health. The right foods keep your heart and circulation healthy and your weight steady.Below are some simple healthy hints:

• Eat five or more portions of fruit and vegetables every day - choosing a wide variety of different types especially different colours. They can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried

• Eat a portion of oily fish twice a week eg salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, pilchards - fresh, tinned or frozen

• Base your meals on starchy foods - these include pasta, rice, potatoes, cereals and breads. Choose wholegrain varieties - wholemeal/granary bread, wholewheat pasta, porridge oats. Replace pastries/ cakes with scones and teacakes or fruit breads

• Use oils and spreads that are high in monounsaturated fat - olive oil, rapeseed oil

• Read labels and packaging. Non meat eaters should include seeds, nuts and vegetables in their diet.

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