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“It’s comforting that the instructor has a spare tire too”

“It’s comforting that the instructor has a spare tire too”

Photographer:Fotograaf: Joey Roberts/ Illustratie Janneke Swinkels

Employee Workout Mix on Tuesday at five-thirty

UM Sports opened the doors to the new university sports centre one year ago. Each week, Observant shows up in sports gear to participate in one of the sessions. Today it is the Employee Workout Mix.

The beginner: Ouch, will there be a photographer? Not everyone is happy with that announcement, even the journalist on call is not looking forward to being recorded while jumping and bending in sports apparel. “Breast proud, navel in, shoulders back, yes, that way we will look good on the photograph,” enthusiastic Netty Bekkers calls out while showing the first steps - “four forward, and back again, four to the side, and back again”. It starts off slow, but as the music gets louder and the pace increases, many beginners get lost in the choreography. “Don’t think about it,” Bekkers encourages, “then it will happen all by itself”. Indeed, not thinking works, until another step is added. The solution seems to be routine, i.e. participating more often.

A little later, it’s time for the Dyna Band, sports jargon for a large elastic band. “Hold it above your head, and keep it stretched while you move one arm down. Remember breast proud, navel in.” A lot of drops of perspiration and weights exercises later, it is time for the abdominal muscles. Lying on a mat, Bekkers explains where the muscles are: not in your neck – many untrained participants will try to compensate weak stomach muscles with the neck muscles – between your diaphragm and your pubis. “Keep it up, another four, another three, and two,” she shouts cheerfully. With a sigh of relief, we are allowed to lie flat on the ground. Fortunately, the photographer has already left.

The expert: “I’m an old-school aerobics teacher,” says instructor Netty Bekkers, who is also department head of customer management and communication for UM Sports. Everyone at UM Sports teaches, to keep in touch with the “basis”. “I like the dance steps that everyone finds tricky in the beginning. I have been doing this for more than 25 years; it is still great to get people to exercise while making sure that they have fun and work towards a healthier body. I give this lesson because just like most of the participants, I am over forty. This feels better for me. Making contact is easier too. It is exactly the reason why we have students teach students. And for the participants here it is comforting that the person teaching them has a spare tire too.

“Very few people sustain injuries during this session. Of course, you can always stumble, but you will not easily overstretch a muscle. Anyone can take part, but you have to listen to your body, in particular when you have just started.” Sometimes Bekkers bursts out laughing when she realises what the lyrics are – a lot of Top 40 songs. “There we are, a group of over-forties, and then I suddenly hear I’m sexy and I know it.”

Target group: all staff, young, old, men, women. But the percentage of women over forty (of the total of fifteen participants) is very high in this session. A tribute to the only (!) man who was not afraid of this workout.

The facts: Employee Workout Mix, every Tuesday from 17:30hrs – 18:15hrs.  

In January 2017, all employees can try out sports five times free of charge. With the TRY FIVE – UM STAFF ONLY offer, employees from Maastricht University can try out five activities from the sports programme – including group lessons such as Zumba and Workout Mix, workout training, badminton, spinning and fitness. No strings attached, every day of the week. Contact the University Sports Centre for more information.

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