Tuesday, 4 February 2014

LIFE'S A BEACH: Sun, sweat and the great outdoors make a sizzling mix at the Joie De Festival

GET YOUR KICKS: Players took part in beach football and volleyball, among other high-energy activities.

The folks driving the newborn Joie De Vie Wellness Festival seem intent on bringing a thrilling new spirit and energy to the local fitness scene. This past Saturday and Sunday, the Fort Clarence Beach in Hellshire, St. Catherine, was transformed into a haven of workout fanatics, sports enthusiasts and the like, who brought sweaty vim and vigour to a range of activities, from a rigorous swim challenge to beach volleyball and football to lengthy aerobics sessions.

But what the organizers really want, moving forward, is to do things with a more personal touch. "The future of the festival will have to involve spending more time delivering the essentials of meeting individual needs," notes co-founder Dr. Ijah Williams when asked about the road ahead. "So that is just one of the things the festival will seek to develop as it goes forward; helping Jamaicans to become better individuals and learn how to live better."

How did the festival come about in the first place? "Joie De Vie was born from interactions between myself and other individuals who've been working with corporate entities for a while on wellness programmes," Williams explains, adding that getting the event off the ground was not without its challenges. "One of the biggest drawbacks is that participation rates are low, budgets get cut and the general public doesn't get to feel the effect of what is done. So we saw it as a necessity to sort of spread the culture of wellness further by putting on something like this."

Meanwhile, patrons attending the event got to interact with representatives from the Diabetes Association of Jamaica, Facey Commodity Limited and the Jamaica Stock Exchange, all of which had booths on display. Twenty-three-year-old Dujon Anderson of Team Epic emerged the last man standing following an intense four-hour aerobics session that seriously tested stamina and endurance.

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