(Published - 29 October 2019)
The UWC Physiotherapy Student Representative Council hosted a Physiotherapy Exercise Day at the Bellville Medical Campus on Friday 4 October for the Faculty of Community and Health Sciences staff and students. This was the first event that was initiated, planned and implemented by the newly formed Physiotherapy SRC, and it was a great success. The Council is made up of both third- and fourth-year physiotherapy students who were nominated and voted in by their peers. The aim of the student council is to bridge the gap between the students and the staff by enhancing and creating an additional channel of communication within the Physiotherapy Department at UWC. In addition, the SRC will work to promote the interests of the students and the staff, encourage student engagement in the department, and work with staff to address issues of concern raised by students. The council aims to promote an environment conducive to educational and personal development, and to supervise and organise all sporting, charity and fundraising events for the student body in the department.
The Chairperson of the council is also the fourth-year South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP) Representative. Hence, the student council will work closely with the SASP, relaying information about relevant workshops for students as well as projects and events led by all SASP Reps in the Western Cape (including UCT and Stellenbosch). The Council will be involved in projects that are initiated by the SASP, including charity, sporting and fundraising events (e.g. Physiotherapy Back Week, the Comrades Marathon, and other sporting events).
The Physiotherapy Exercise event was aimed at creating awareness of exercise by providing examples of simple exercises and stretches that can be done in homes or offices, all without equipment. Physiotherapy students helped teach the participants the correct techniques and the benefits of regularly doing the exercises and stretches. There were six stations where participants needed to learn the exercise from a physiotherapy student at each station, and then demonstrate how to do it correctly. If all six stations were performed correctly, participants were then offered a neck and shoulder massage.
"Fun was definitely had! It was lovely to see new faces and see themselves surprise themselves in being able to complete each workshop,” said one student, Khanyisile Booi. “Exercise is an amazing way to distress especially coming into the examination period. Hopefully the workshop moved them to continue with exercise." Another student, Saschia Alexander, said exercise is also a good way to unwind. "Overall it was an enjoyable day, it was nice to see everyone participate with so much enthusiasm," said Alexander.
There was also a small competition that was organised among the Physiotherapy students who attended, for the chance to win a SASP Physiotherapy Hamper. Students had to perform a set of more challenging exercises, where the first student to finish won the prize. The event was also attended by some CHS staff who made their way through the stations, laughing and leaving relaxed after their massages. It was a great way for the different student cohorts to connect and learn from each other. The Physiotherapy students enjoyed themselves and left with some SASP merchandise.
“I was inspired to see the energy and commitment of the students. The event raised my own awareness about ways of improving my flexibility - given that I sit at a desk a lot, “ said CHS psychology lecturer, Umesh Bawa.
Liezel Ennion, a staff member in the Physiotherapy Department who attended the event, said: “I was very impressed with the initiative that the Physiotherapy SRC took to organise this exercise awareness event. They demonstrated some simple body weight exercises that could be done in your office, and made the exercises fun and entertaining. I had a great time!”