Squad get highly strung

WEEK Five of Spring Into Summer saw the squad try racquet sports. TRACEY SPARLING reports on the session and REBECCA LEFORT reveals how the 12-week fun fitness programme has already sparked life changes for some squad members.

WEEK Five of Spring Into Summer saw the squad try racquet sports. TRACEY SPARLING report son the session and REBECCA LEFORT reveals how the 12-week fun fitness programme has already sparked life changes for some squad members.

RAIN failed to stop play, as 20 Evening Star readers learned the basics of tennis and squash for their latest challenge.

While the wet weather outside reminded us of Wimbledon on occasion, the indoor courts at Ipswich Sports Club rang to the sound of shouts and swipes on Sunday. Half the squad tried tennis, maybe with hopes of unearthing a deeply buried talent akin to Britain's Andy Murray, while the rest of us had a go at fast-and-furious squash.

Racquet sports provide an all-over aerobic workout, and help muscle flexibility and circulation - and we were soon out of breath from chasing round the courts!


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The expert advice came from club manager Mike Penman, head tennis coach Martin Coates and head squash professional Martin Levens. We were taught how to serve, where to aim for and how to score - and then after a practice session, it was time for a tournament.

Afterwards Martin Coates said: “It was good fun, and I think everybody did really well.”

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His new student Dawn Cuillimore laughed: “It was really good fun, but I learned how useless I am at tennis!”

The 39-year-old teaching assistant from Roxburgh Road added: “The people in my group also learned something - that they didn't want to play with me!”

Martin Levens, who has recently taken up his appointment following many years coaching in Germany, said: “The trick is not to worry about making mistakes. Squash is a short workout, and with a bit of practice you can improve quickly.”

Both sports have the added benefit of helping to develop strong and healthy bones. Scientists have found that bones respond either to large forces placed on them by muscle and tendons, or to compression forces created during activity. Large muscular forces are placed on the dominant arm while serving a tennis ball, and scientists at the Tampere Research Station of Sports Medicine in Finland recently found that squash players had spines 14 per cent denser, leg bones 13-17pc thicker and foot bones 19 per cent more solid than non-players.

Weblinks:

www.ipswichsports.co.uk

www.pponline.co.uk/encyc

On average people burn more calories playing squash than any other sport, according to England squash accredited coach Gavin Mason.

Ipswich Sports Club in Henley Road has eight outdoor courts, six of which are floodlit, plus an indoor centre with three courts, and squash courts. Membership starts at £22.33 a month (£14 junior), with a £45 joining fee (£25 junior).

To find out about lessons and sessions for beginners to advanced players, contact the club on 01473 251143.

Name: Ashley Miller

Address: Bentley Road, Ipswich

Occupation: Software analyst

Age: 36

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

A: Have a bit of a laugh, try a few new activities and get myself motivated again.

Q: What stopped you keeping fit in the past?

A: Mainly the lack of time. I've tried building exercise into my daily routine, by doing things such as cycling to work and not using lifts. It worked for a while, as I cycled nine miles each way to work and lost around four stone, but then I changed jobs and the journey came down to around two miles and I piled on the weight again.

Q: Have you tried any sports before, and if so, how did you find them?

A: Yes, quite a lot. I think you should try everything you get the chance to, even if you do only end up doing it once, as you might be surprised.

I tried water-skiing a few times, but after consistently getting smacked in the face by the tow-rope, so I decided it wasn't for me!

It was a similar story with windsurfing - I could go out from the beach okay, but always struggled to get back. I did a lot of swimming as a kid which is good for you, but I find it a bit boring going up and down the pool 30-odd times. Nowadays, I mainly enjoy cycling and I've tried to involve my two daughters too - we're the ones who whizz round town on the 'Goodie bike'!

Q: How are you getting on with the group?

A: Good - the activities have been fun and there should be something for everyone.

Q: Is weight loss part of your aim? If so, how have you tried before and did you fail or succeed?

A: Yes, for someone of my build I think weight loss and exercise have to go together. It's a constant battle for me. I know I'm never going to be slim but I attend Weight Watchers on and off, as that worked for me for quite a while. The next step maybe hypnotherapy…

Q: What is your favourite food - and is it good for you?

A: My favourite food is a full English breakfast and no, it's not good for me - not every day anyway. I even had to get a new bike because my old one was faulty - it kept taking me to the Kesgrave Kitchen!

Q: How has the nutrition advice helped you?

A: It's been very good so far, although I was aware of most of it, deep in my subconscious. I suppose it's human nature to ignore it, until one day either someone slaps you around the face and says 'wise up,' or you are shocked enough to do something about it - for example you may get really embarrassed in public if you get stuck in the seat of an amusement park ride. I like most fruit and vegetables and things that are good for you and I try to eat healthily, but I really need the scientific community to come up with an apple that tastes like a bacon sandwich!

Q: How have you found Spring Into Summer so far?

A: Good fun, although I'm disappointed I missed the basketball session due to illness, but as the film title goes, 'White Men Can't Jump, so maybe it was for the best.

Q: Which event has been your favourite so far, and why?

A: The tennis. I used to play quite a lot, but not for a few years now, so hopefully it has rekindled my interest, with summer apparently on the way. Playing a game outdoors on a summer's evening with a relaxing drink in a pub afterwards is just great.

Q: Which event has been the biggest challenge for you, and why?

A: The wall climbing. I carry quite a bit of weight and hauling myself up a vertical wall trying to defy gravity was hard work. It made me realise that my upper body strength is not perhaps what it should be.

Q: What have you gained from the programme?

A: More of a realisation that most sporting activities that people enjoy or would choose to do, can be done in and around the Ipswich area.

People, including me, just need to find the time and motivation to do them. Television sport is turning us into a nation of watchers rather than doers.

Name: Sue Casselden

Address: Tuddenham Avenue, Ipswich

Occupation: Administrator

Age: 32

Q: What do you hope to achieve with Spring Into Summer?

A: I want to get fitter and lose some weight and feel better with myself. Before I felt sluggish.

Q: What stopped you keeping fit in the past?

A: Willpower stopped me. I'd tried thing but never been able to stick with it. I could easily find excuses not to do exercise. I did have time to do it but I didn't make the time. I think I needed to have a bit more fun with it.

Q: Have you tried any sports before, and if so, how did you find them?

A: I used to do step classes and went to the gym but since I had my second child I stopped it all. When you've had a day at home with the children you perhaps don't want to go out.

Q: How are you getting on with the group?

A: I have really enjoyed being with the group, they're all really fun. It's nice to have other people in the same situation. It is also good to associate exercise with socialising which makes it a more positive thing.

Q: Is weight loss part of your aim? If so, how have you tried before and did you fail or succeed?

A: I have an ongoing battle with trying to lose weight. I do manage to lose weight but it always comes back on because I've never changed my lifestyle for good. You have to change forever to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Q: What is your favourite food - and is it good for you?

A: Just food - I enjoy it all! It's very social and life revolves around it. I particularly like crisps and things which you eat with drinks, which isn't good for me.

Q: How has the nutrition advice helped you?

A: I wouldn't say it's been a big thing because I have done so many diets that I already know a lot of it but it goes in one ear and out the other.

Q: How have you found Spring Into Summer so far?

A: Brilliant. It's been very well organised. I went swimming last week and am trying to do a bit more so I think it has made a difference.

Q: Which event has been your favourite so far, and why?

A: Basketball and squash. I like competitive sports and fast moving games. I have already chatted to somebody about having a game of squash.

Q: Which event has been the biggest challenge for you, and why?

A: The climbing wall because I wasn't feeling well. But I was pleased I actually did it in the end.

Q: What have you gained from the programme?

A: The experience of trying different sports has been has been really good, and doing Spring Into Summer actually makes me find the time for exercise.

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