Friday, August 26, 2016 7:48 am
By Kunle Owolabi
Celebration of compositions, colours, designs and formations to stun! No form of human activity appears to have been formed to arrest, entertain and motivate better than calisthenics. That is what the skyline of Osun, South-West Nigeria promises to be resplendent with as the State of the Virtuous marks its 25th anniversary on Saturday 27th, August 2016.
Calisthenics is a body of exercises consisting of a variety of gross motor movements; often rhythmical and generally without equipment or apparatus. They are, essentially, body-weight training tactics.
Wikipedia explains that the word calisthenics has its roots in Greek words kálos, which means “beauty”, and sthénos, meaning “strength.”
Thus, calisthenics is the art of using one’s body weight and qualities of body’s motion as a means to develop one’s physique as well as an art of aesthetic display.
There are numerous types of this body building exercises which include: lunges, jumping Jacks (star jumps or stride jumps), squat -jumps, sit -ups, crunches, push-ups, pull-ups, dips, leg raises, hyperextensions, planks and so on.
Sports teams and military units often perform leader-directed group calisthenics as a form of synchronized physical training (often including a customized call and response routine to increase group cohesion and discipline.
Calisthenics are also popular as a component of physical education in primary and secondary schools across the world.
Either at its most elementary or at the advanced level, calisthenics’ primary motif always resonates whenever it is performed.
To say that it brings out beauty is to say the obvious. Wherever there is calisthenics display, the atmosphere turns into beautiful scenery with competing colours and designs.
It is this component of calisthenics that has been given meaning in Osun under the Government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as part of total package of educational training for young minds.
This kind of extra-curricula development was last exhibited in the Second Republic in the old Oyo State under late Chief Bola Ige as the Governor.
The State of Osun is the first in the country to revive this sterling and rewarding initiative in about more than three decades.
The scheme seeks to instill the spirit of collaborative efforts and discipline into school children. This is by combining extra-curricula activities with academic pursuit, thus building their minds and bodies and preparing them for the future.
Besides, calisthenics trainings are also intended to increase body strength, body fitness, and flexibility of the pupils through movements such as pulling or pushing oneself up, bending, jumping, or swinging, using only one’s body weight for resistance; usually conducted in concert with stretches.
Again, proper calisthenics training will promote the growth of lean muscle mass, and increase the strength, mobility, flexibility, agility, and endurance.
Proper strength training via weight-lifting routine will promote the growth of muscle mass and strength.
When performed vigorously and with variety, calisthenics can provide the benefits of muscular and aerobic conditioning, in addition to improving psycho-motor skills such as balance, agility and coordination.
It also teaches the pupils the spirit of cooperation, discipline, organization, concentration and togetherness as they perform as a group thereby working in their minds as one.
This programme was conceived to enhance the emergence of a new generation of students who are physically fit, mentally sound and socially responsible and well-adjusted to the need of the society.
The programme has been so entrenched into the body system of the pupils that it has become a routine exercise and they have, on few occasions, displayed the stuffs they are made of.
On the two previous occasions the state had put up the show, the pupils had dished out breathtaking calisthenics performances at the Osogbo City Stadium.
As Governor Aregbesola would say, “Education has three aspects: the affective, cognitive an psycho-motor. It is this last aspect – the psycho-motor – that had been neglected before our government. Education is meant to be total. As we develop their cognitive and effective senses, so also we must develop their body fitness in order to have a sound mind in a healthy body.”
In the fullness of time, the child being raised in Osun today must turn out to be a model of good character, innovation and competence; the true Omoluabi to the state’s tomorrow.
On a third outing in the state, the 25th anniversary of the creation of the State of Osun awaits another spectacle of performance as colour, arrangement, cooperation, concentration, focus are all to be on display in what promises to be another historic performance in Osun.
*Owolabi, a Media Assistant writes from Osogbo, State of Osun