Explore your Limits

Explore your Limits

By Flex Teen Ambassador, Hope Patterson

In the second part of our Teen Talk on fitness, we ask six active Hong Kong students, why they do sport, what they get from it, and what makes them stay with the program.

All six have a healthy attitude to physical fitness and an active lifestyle. Not only do they love the buzz from the achievements that come with focusing on a healthy body, it also helps them sustain a positive attitude to the academic and social stresses of day-to-day life.

Tippa Chan (TC):Tippa is a 14-year-old competitive swimmer who attends Chinese International School. She has been swimming competitively since the age of nine, following in the footsteps of her elder siblings.

Freddie Fawcett (FF):Freddie, age 11, is about to star in HKYAF’s newest production of Oliver – as Oliver himself. Freddie is a Chinese International School student – a gymnast, runner and swimmer – who competes with his older sister across a range of sports.

Noor Shalabi (NS):Noor, aged 12, attends Harrow International School and is the daughter of Flex founder Heather Thomas Shalabi. She counts sailing, Pilates, netball and swimming as her sports.

India Tory (IT): India, aged 13, studies at Chinese International School and hails from a very sporty and fit family. India is a budding football and tennis player, golfer and runner.

Mason Edwards (ME):Mason, aged 10, is at International Montessori. He plays ice hockey competitively, with extra time allowing him to play football, baseball, basketball. He also likes running.

Katie Lam (KL):Katherine (Katie) Lam is 13 years of age and attends Chinese International School. She is a ballet dancer and also competes in netball, football, basketball and swimming competitions. She recently performed at Clockenflap with Dance Kho.

HP: What do you think the benefits of exercise are?
TC: You know you have a healthy life (and you don’t feel all that bad eating a burger or two every so often).
FF: The benefits of exercise are a healthy body, which to me equals a happy life!
NS: I think the benefits of exercise are staying fit and healthy, so when you grow into an adult you can still run around and aren’t stiff and sore. Another benefit is that exercise releases endorphins, which make your mind more positive and alert. Exercise also helps you relieve stress and become more relaxed.
IT:I think there are many different benefits. These include good fitness, muscle growth and helping your insides (lungs and heart) become stronger.
KL: I think the main benefit of exercise is being able to enjoy your exercise (like your favorite sport) and get fit at the same time. Its two birds with one stone.

HP: Are you concerned/motivated to stay fit?
TC: Of course! I’m motivated to (swim) exercise so I can improve and become the best I can be in the sport I do.
FF: I am motivated to exercise because it will help me keep fit.
NS: Sometimes I am motivated to exercise, sometimes not. I am motivated if I like the type of exercise. My friends motivate me sometimes because they all did netball and urged me to try so I did and I really liked it. My mom is also always telling me to get out and exercise so sometimes I listen!I try to eat healthy, but if there’s a pizza around, I’m definitely going to have a slice.
IT:I am motivated to exercise for two main reasons: the exercise I do is fun with other people, and I think being fit is very important. I have made new, close friends through my sports. Also, I think fitness is something you need in order to live a healthy life. My family is fit and we are always doing what we can to stay that way.
ME: Yes, because there’s no good reason to be unfit and unhealthy.
KL: I am motivated to stay fit because if I want to continue doing all the sport I enjoy, I need to stay fit.

HP: What does being flexible mean to you?
TC: Being able to touch your toes. The sport I do doesn’t require too much flexibility.
FF: Being flexible means being able to learn new tricks!
NS: Being flexible is being able to stretch your muscles. For example, if your muscles are tight, you will not be able to touch your toes, but if you are flexible, you will be able to touch your toes. The other meaning is that you are adaptive to life changes and can bend to plans.
IT:Being flexible is very important. Staying flexible helps to prevent injury and pain and makes some actions easier to complete. I am not flexible, but try to stretch before and after my training sessions.
ME: Being flexible doesn’t really mean that much to me, because you don’t need flexibility in hockey, unless you are a goalie, which I am not.
KL: It means feeling flexible. If I can’t touch my toes, I need to stretch it out.

HP: When did you start your sport/activity and do you remember why you started?
TC: I started swimming at two, but only started getting serious (competitive) when I was nine. Both my siblings participated in this sport before I did, so it was only natural for me to swim.
FF: I started swimming in Year one because my mum wanted me to, gymnastics in Year four because I thought it looked really fun and running in Year three because I love the feeling of it!
NS: I started netball at the beginning of the school year because all my friends did it and they encouraged me. I started Pilates about three years ago and really, how could I not – my Mom owns a Pilates studio! I’ve never really done competitive swimming but I have done many swim lessons over the years. I don’t really remember when I started. I just always loved the water and swimming.
IT:I started football when I was very young. I started because my brother played and inspired me. I also started playing a little bit of tennis, but mainly started four years ago when I moved to Hong Kong. I started tennis because, like football, my siblings did it and inspired me. I also thought it would be a new challenge. I only started playing golf a few years ago and I started because it is a sport that you play all though your life and one I can play with my family on Sunday afternoons.
ME: I started ice hockey when I was three and I started because I saw an adult wearing these amazing ice hockey skates and I wanted a pair. My Mum said that in order to have those, I would need to learn to play.
KL: My earliest sport was ballet. I started ballet when I was three. I remember doing twirls and jumping around like a bunny.

HP: What do you love the most about it?
TC: The things it teaches me: commitment and perseverance, my swim team (which is known as my second family), the friendships that I make and strengthen, the meets and breaking (personal) records.
FF: I love the sports that I do because they are all mainly fun and when I enjoy them I seem to become better at them!
NS: In netball, I love the feeling when I successfully make a pass or score a goal. It just makes me really proud that I am finally improving on a sport. With swimming, I just love the feeling of being so free in the water.
IT:I love the training and the outcome. Training sessions are difficult, tiring and sweaty. We are putting in 100 per cent and pushing ourselves for over two hours of hardcore training. It is tough, but every session makes us better. I love this most because I like to see how far I can go and seeing that pushing myself gets me better results.
ME: I love the burst of energy when I play – and the adrenalin rush.
KL: In ballet, all the moves make me feel free and elegant. Plus, the way you are supposed to carry yourself as a ballerina makes me feel like a real professional ballerina.

In the next, and final part of our Teen series, we ask how these teens remain competitive and inspired!

Calling all teens! Experience one of our fantastic fitness classes free (before 19th December)!

From Teen Yoga to Flying Pilates, Flex has one of HK’s most comprehensive fitness programs for teens. We help teens and tweens gain confidence in their growing bodies, move intelligently and educate them about physical fitness for life.  With a range of classes including Pilates, Aerial Arts and Yoga, we make fitness fun!

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