The Wits faculty of health sciences hosted students and staff members at World Health Day celebrations after two years of virtual meetings due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Spirits were high at the Wits Hockey Stadium in Parktown on Thursday, April 7 when more than 90 staff members and students embarked on a fun and walk session, hosted by the health sciences faculty at the Education Campus, in celebration of World Health Day.

This was the last stretch of the #100MinutesForHealth programme, which aimed to observe 100 minutes of fitness over a period of four days. From Monday, April 4 to Wednesday, April 6, the faculty held fitness sessions conducted by professional trainers who offered yoga, fitbox and zumba at the Scotts Gym.

Speaking about the motive behind the first-of-its-kind celebration at the university, Leanne Harwood, health sciences faculty digital communications officer, said, “We want to bring the spirit back to campus and leave an everlasting effect of the importance of exercise.”

Celebrated internationally for the first time in 1950, this year’s World Health Day was observed under the theme “Our planet, our health” as declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Students and staff at the fitbox session on April 5. Photo: Keamogetswe Matlala

Although there were few people in attendance on Monday due to the weather, yoga instructor Monica Tweehuysen (64), who hosts virtual sessions for Wits staff members bi-weekly, conducted her last session for the day at 2pm with excitement.

Tweehuysen said including yoga in the health awareness programme was important because it is an underrated health regime that maintains stable mood levels and blood pressure.

Wits driver Wesley Mamafa (34) said on Wednesday, “[Monica] taught me the dog stretch during yoga training and ever since, I’ve been doing it every day. It stretches your body and your veins from within, improving your blood circulation. It has been amazing.”

Antonia Appel, faculty communications and office manager, was excited as everyone made their way out of the stadium after completing their runs or walks. “We have had calls to have this happen every month or every quarter,” she said. “So, I think we will look into doing this event more regularly.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits staff members at the finish line of the 2.5km run/walk. Photo: Keamogetswe Matlala