independent

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Wicklow sixth fittest county in Ireland

Published 14/05/2014 | 05:22

WICKLOW is the sixth fittest county in Ireland, according to the Aviva Health Schools Fitness Challenge.

Sports minister Leo Varadkar and rugby star Jordi Murphy recently announced the results of this year's challenge.

Whilt the fittest school in the country is in Offaly, Wicklow came close to the top of the table, with a total of 13,067 students from all over the country taking part.

Devised by Professor Niall Moyna from the Centre of Preventive Medicine in Dublin City University and the Wellness Economic Initiative Alliance, the Aviva Health Schools' Fitness Challenge, invited secondary schools throughout the country to make physical fitness a national priority by assessing the fitness levels of junior cycle secondary school students over a six week period through a bleep test.

Students who completed the challenge experienced, on average, a 19 per cent improvement in their fitness levels.

Not only were improvements in fitness observed among the students after the relatively short period of exercise intervention, but the results show that boys are now 45 per cent fitter than girls compared to 60 per cent fitter last year, meaning that girls are closing the gap in fitness levels compared to boys.

The challenge also showed that boys completed an average of 67 shuttles compared to 62 last year, an increase of just over 8 per cent, with girls completing, on average, four more shuttles than last year to reach 42, representing a 10.86 per cent improvement on 2013.

'It is so important for students to maintain their fitness levels,' said Ciaran Faughnan, CEO of the Wellness Economic Initiative Alliance.

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