Active Future Programme – Week 6 – Safe Gym Use, Smoking & Importance of Sleep & Problem Solving.

Overview of the Active Future Programme here –

Overview of Week 5 here –

Week 6 of the Active Future saw us going back to our usual template, consisting of a physical activity input, physical health input and a mental health input.  It is coming towards the end of the programme and I was searching for answers as to why the programme ran so smoothly. I came to the conclusion that it was our team and partners involved in the project. A major factor in any working relationship is trust and I feel that everyone involved, the participants, leaders and partners had mutual trust and respect for each other. Another reason why there was so much trust was becuase many of us had worked together in the past. Look for existing partnerships or relationships that you already possess and seek to make your programme fit their aims, goals or principals. Read on to see how week 6 of the Active Future Programme went.

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Physical Health Input

After a few weeks of working with the participants, the power was handed over to the Sports Science students to decide what topic(s) were important to deliver.  Based on what they had learned from the participants thus far, smoking and sleeping were the topics of choice – which the students delivered in excellent fashion. The participants were shocked to learn that tobacco kills up to half it’s users and 5 million people per year!. Indeed, 600,000 people die per year from second hand smoke alone. The participants then entered a discussion about why they started smoking and many agreed that it was a result of peer pressure. Perhaps a new innovative way is needed to tackle smoking and kill it at it’s route? Next up was sleep and 7-9 hrs is recommended depending on the individual. The participants spoke of getting only 5-7 hrs with many citing worry and being on their phone as the primary reason. We then revised some of our relaxation techniques covered in week 2.

Physical Activity Input

See the video for a taster of the exercises that we covered! The students guided the participants through safe gym use across a variety of equipment and exercises. The students informed the participants on correct form and technique when lifting free weights and machine weight,  as well as different tempos and volumes that can be used to make exercises harder or easier.Next up was the cardio equipment where students explained the different heart rates zones that can be worked in, which all have  a different physiological effect. The participants were shown how to use the treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, rower and step machine to name but a few.

Mental Health Input

Last but not least, was our mental health input which covered the topic of problem solving. Michael Byrne guided the students through the 5 stage problem solving plan which can be a useful tool when trying to solve a particular problem or issue.

  1. State the problem. Sometimes this is not always easy. Michael reverted back to a previous section on understanding our thoughts. Is this a helpful or unhelpful though? Is there evidence to support that this is in fact a problem? If so…
  2. What could you do? Brainstorm for all possible solutions. Even if they seem very abstract ideas write them down – they could prove useful or at least cathartic.
  3. List what might happen for each of these solutions. Then pick which solution is best based on the consequence.
  4.  Do it! This can prove very difficult and may involve a lot of rehearsing on what to say and/or do. This is normal.
  5. Evaluation – Did it work? Evaluate the pro’s and con’s of the solution. If it worked great, if it didn’t work ,go back a pick another solution you listed from step 2.

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Next week is week 7 and the penultimate week of the Active Future Programme. To say time flies is an underestimation. Stop by next week to see how it went and as always email me if you have any questions about the programme or you would like advice on starting your own programme.

The Active Future Programme is an 8 week programme based in Ireland aiming to promote physical activity and further education among adolescents. We strive to challenge stigmas and misconceptions around mental and physical health. It is run on campus of I.T. Carlow and in association with the Tullow School Completion Programme and the Tullow Secondary School. This blog is updated each week and follows the progress of the programme. If you would like more information on the programme or have any questions in general you can contact me by email – or

One thought on “Active Future Programme – Week 6 – Safe Gym Use, Smoking & Importance of Sleep & Problem Solving.

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