TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Over 200 communities from 70 countries on Saturday, November 10, 2018, hosted 6th Worldwide Aquathon Day to raise awareness in water exercise as part of overall public health effort. Indonesia represented by the Jakarta-based Water Excercise Training (WET) Indonesia -- has been participating in the event for four consecutive years and the growing interest has been mindblowing.
Rose Hartzenberg, the founder of Worldwide Aquathon Day, released a statement for the event. "This was an exercise that was mindblowing as never realized just how water had made such an impact in their lives," said Hartzenberg from East London, South Africa on the eve of Worldwide Aquathon Day 2018.
This year, for the 6th Worldwide Aquathon Day, WET Indonesia has taken a rather radical move by hosting interactive sessions for parents and children. It has also shifted its approach to build public awareness of healthy lifestyle from adults and senior citizens to younger children and even as early as infancy. Damiana Dotty Widowati, 51, founder of WET Indonesia - and certified international water exercise instructor -explained: "We want to be actively promoting health from curative to preventive, using water as a training medium," she said.
The shift in focus by WET Indonesia comes to no surprise to Hartzenberg, who always push for new ideas in bringing awareness to the impact water exercise brought in people's live. She has been following WET Indonesia's progress through social media channels, where she noticed WET Indonesia along the years with their unique program has attracted a younger generation to train in water along with the parents instead of adults.
Dotty believes that health is an important aspect in building a resilient nation and it all begins in family as its smallest system. "Water supports human development in all three aspects; physical, mental, and energy," she mentioned. Winner of Fitness Best ROAR Asia AWard 2018 thus emphasized, "A healthy family will promote a healthy community that will eventually build a healthy and strong nation. That's why we start from family, parents, and children building healthy habit together and living a healthy lifestyle.
Supported by wellness practitioner, Nano Oerip and child psychologist Tari Sandjojo, Dotty hosted cafe dialogue for group of parents- children with overarching theme "Raising Children with Aquatic Intelligence". Starting from October 2018, the final gig was the interactive workshop held on Saturday, November 10, 2018, in Jakarta, as part of the 6th Worldwide Aquathon Day.
Nano Oerip, 40, fitness and wellness practitioner mentioned how modern lifestyle has changed the way we move. According to Nano - a long distance runner - human being used to use their bodies and minds to think, learn, and play at the same time from the early age. It activates the muscles, and with proper and continuous training it will enhance our social-emotional being. "Now with fourth industrial environment, we are very much dominated by technology which requires us to use different set of muscles, said alumnus of Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania. "It creates conditions where our muscles and brain develop in slower rate, that makes us more susceptible to diseases," he continued.
Dotty describe how she approaches younger children and infant in WET's training. One technique is to develop trust between child and trainer, and in return, the trainer must grant trust and give opportunities for children to make their own decision. At this point, the trainer is acting as a facilitator to the child's need to progress. "This is the fundamental part in continuing the learning process and promoting progress in developing further skills," said Dotty.
Child psychologist and Academic Director of Sekolah Cikal, Tari Sandjojo, 44, added that this kind of approach allows children to develop self-regulating skills, one of the important basic skills to allow younger children to be aware of their needs and to take appropriate actions in response to those needs. "This skill is critical, especially when parents tend to be tightly controlling children all the time."
"Water is actually very familiar medium for us, especially to infants," Tari explained furtherly. Humans were all surrounded by water during our 9 months in the womb, but when we lost 'touch' and early memories replaced with gravity, water becomes new and strange environment that needs to be re-introduced. "When a child knows how to respond to a stressful situation in water in early age, he or she has a bigger chance to overcome stress in future," Tari concluded.
As the number of younger members are growing exponentially, WET Indonesia is confidently moving forward and upward. "We started out with 10-15 children in 2017, and now we have almost 200 infants and toddlers actively training." Dotty exclaimed.
It was probably the same excitement that Rose Hartzenberg felt in 2012 in South Africa, when she rolled out a simple idea. On Saturday, November 10, 2018, over 200 communities from 79 countries hosted the 6th Worldwide Aquathon Day.
From Jakarta, WET Indonesia confidently started a ripple, as Rose Hartzenberg said, "A breakthrough in the water." A wave of change is coming.
WET Indonesia | Laila Afifa