independent

Saturday 21 April 2018

Rugby ace Spence visits Loreto fitness champs

Former Irish Rugby International Sophie Spence with Eva Moore, Hannah Doyle and Eimear Martin, sports prefect.
Former Irish Rugby International Sophie Spence with Eva Moore, Hannah Doyle and Eimear Martin, sports prefect.
Loreto Bray’s Class 108, winners of the Irish Life Health School’s Fitness Challenge for most improved girls school, with year head Maria Lynch, former Irish rugby international Sophie Spence and Principal Emma Raughter.

Rugby player Sophie Spence was in Loreto recently to speak to first year students about being physically active and staying involved in sport.

Former international player Sophie won two Six Nation medals, one of which was a grand slam victory. She was an integral part of the team that beat New Zealand and was nominated for World Player of the Year in 2016. She spoke about the health benefits of physical activity, of how it reduces the risk of many non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. She emphasised that any type of physical activity is beneficial, that it doesn't have to be an organised sport, just getting out and being active for 60 minutes every day is beneficial.

Sophie also spoke about how physical activity can improve your mood. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

Sophie gave a personal insight into how being involved in sport helped her through school. She spoke about not being an academic student, but how sport improved her concentration and helped her learn. She also said that it gave her a greater connection to her school, and helped her become more engaged.

Members of lass 108 were also presented with their Girls Most Improved School trophy for the Irish Life Schools Fitness Challenge.

Nearly 350 schools took part in the challenge. The students did a beep test in order to measure their cardiovascular fitness. They then, with all of the other first, second and third year students in Loreto undertook a six-week training challenge. The girls were re-tested and class 108 came out as the top team in the country for improving their fitness levels over the six week period.

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