‘Fitness is not about being better than someone else…it’s about being better than you used to be’ www.livebetter.org.uk
If you work in the health & wellbeing industry, or you follow the advice from those who do – then you’ll no doubt know just how confusing advice relating to health, fitness and wellbeing can be!
But for all the reading done here at Forallourwellbeing, and confusion it has caused us doing our blogs– there seems to be 3 key messages that everyone seems to agree on;
Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day; cut down on the crap and booze; and move more! And today, the focus is on getting up off our asses, get moving, and get involved with National Fitness Day.
With big names like Anthony Joshua, Rio Ferdinand, Team GB, Sport England; even the Great British Bake Off giving their support over the years, it is a day to highlight just how important a role physical activity plays in helping us to lead more active, healthier and happier lives.
But as well as the big names, big studies also report just how important awareness days such as these are for us all. As a country – we have some pretty alarming stats around how inactive the average Brit is.
Just shy of 40% of UK adults are in the bracket ranging from ‘inactive’ to those who do not meet the government guidelines for physical activity (30 minutes of moderate activity, five times a week). British children fare worse, with only 23% of boys and 20% of girls meeting recommended activity levels (one hour of moderate physical activity per day).
A Department of Transport study in 2016 indicated that the average brit walks around 198 miles a year, broken down to an average of 16 minutes per walk. Only 30% of people surveyed regularly walked further than a mile. If we consider the 10,000 steps a day (which, interestingly, is now being considered insufficient by some!), comes in at around 5 miles distance for the average persons’ stride, then we should be walking in the region of 1,825 miles a year! Blimey!
Add to this an increasingly sedentary lifestyle, with ‘movement stripped out of modern living’ and we have a perfect storm for numerous mental and physical health issues.
Need evidence? Then just check out the references below and the stacks of research findings showing how physical activity reduces all-cause mortality; the risk of contracting numerous chronic diseases (cardio-vascular disease, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, some cancers and osteoporosis), massively improves our mental health and not only extends our life, but the quality of it.
Getting fitter can be as simple as putting on your shoes and going for a walk – possibly, one of the most underrated forms of exercise there is – or you can raise the bar and dance, swim, climb, punch, swing, push, pull, cycle, ski, row yourself to fitness. How you do it is as vast as your imagination allows.
Fitness doesn’t mean training to become an Olympic gold medallist, professional athlete or fitness magazine cover model – it simply means movement. Get a sweat on, get out of breath a wee bit and you are golden – just make sure you stay safe.
Finding the time, extra spending money, even the motivation to both start exercising – never mind keeping it up – can be a real ask. Summer is over, the nights are drawing in, temperatures are dropping and only 90 days till Christmas (sorry!) – so if you are short on time, cash, mojo, motivation or ideas, then perhaps some of the following can help you out;
Firstly, check out the National Fitness Day’s activity finder web pages; which allows you to check out fitness events going on in and around your postcode.
Ourparks – is an initiative that has been going since 2014; it capitalises on the basis that every Londoner lives within 1 mile of a park space – a space open to one and all – meaning free exercise classes run by professional coaches. Now boasting over 30,000 members and 200 coaches delivering classes. A chance to work out in open, green space without the expense
Parkrun – ‘running’ since 2008, it is now an international, weekly event, hosting 3 mile/5km runs for free, in 20 countries on a Saturday morning. Standards appeal to competitive runners right through to first-timers. More opportunities to enjoy free fitness in green spacers with like-minded people.
London Friday Night Skate and Sunday Stroll – for those feelin’ the need for speed, or exercise that doesn’t put too much stress on the knee joints! Then this might be the one for you. These are free, marshalled skating events around the streets of London. Friday’s starts at Wellington Arch in Hyde Park, and are for the more proficient, whereas the Sunday event changes venue and is a more leisurely affair.
If walking is more your thing, then check out the list of British Walking festival events advertised by Ordnance Survey. This is part of their National Get Outside Day campaign, which is on the 30th September. Many of the events listed are free, and are given in date order.
MoveGB - £1 a week memberships allows you to gain access to a variety of gyms, pools, yoga studios and fitness classes in 21 towns/cities across the UK. Times and days are usually off-peak, but this is all clearly shown on the website. Choice is seriously extensive for the price.
Classpass – works on a credit system (£1.40 a credit) with packages ranging from £35 (4-6 classes a month) to £90 (12-18 classes) – classes vary in credit cost depending on times, popularity etc – first month is a free trial. Lots of classes in London with a cancel any time policy.
Right, so that’s more ideas than you can shake a stick at, so get up off that ass and move! Enjoy.
Hicks, K., (2015) The complexity of health and wellbeing [online] at This Week in Global Health; 20th January, at: https://www.twigh.org/twigh-blog-archives/2015/1/20/the-complexity-of-health-and-wellbeing
Maibach, E., (2007) The Influence of the Media Environment on Physical Activity: Looking for the Big Picture [online] in Health Promotion; March/April, Vol. 23, Iss. 4, p. 353-362, at; https://activelivingresearch.org/sites/default/files/Maibach.pdf
Doward, J., (2013) Nation’s exercise levels ‘shockingly low’ [online] in The Guardian; 10th August, at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/aug/10/uk-exercise-levels-low-targets-fitness
Donnelly, L., (2017) British children amongst the least active in the world, with exercise ‘stripped out’ of modern life [online] in The Telegraph; 20th November, at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/20/british-children-among-the-least-active-in-the-world-with-exerci/
Donnelly, L., (2016) Britain ‘grinds to a halt’ with average person walking half a mile a day [online] in The Telegraph; 28th July, at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/28/britain-grinds-to-a-halt-with-average-person-walking-half-a-mile/
Department of Transport (2016) Walking and Cycling Statistics, England: 2016 [online] 18th January, at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/674503/walking-and-cycling-statistics-england-2016.pdf
Bhunjun, A., (2018) How far is 10,000 steps and will that help you lose weight? [online] in the Metro; 11th January, at: https://metro.co.uk/2018/01/11/how-far-is-10000-steps-and-will-that-help-you-lose-weight-7222266/
National Statistics (2018) Statistics on obesity, physical activity and diet – England:2018 [online] 4th April, at: https://files.digital.nhs.uk/publication/0/0/obes-phys-acti-diet-eng-2018-rep.pdf
Sport England (2017) Figures show nation’s activity levels [online] 22nd March, at: https://www.sportengland.org/news-and-features/news/2018/march/22/figures-show-nations-activity-levels/
Sport England (2017) Clear link between being active and mental wellbeing [online] 14th December, at: https://www.sportengland.org/news-and-features/news/2017/december/14/the-clear-link-between-being-active-and-mental-wellbeing/
Sport England (2018) Active lives adult survey: November 16/17 report [online] March, at: https://www.sportengland.org/media/13217/v-mass-markets-digital-content-editorial-team-active-lives-march-2018-active-lives-adult-survey-nov-16-17-final.pdf
Koh, K.K., (2016) What Should We Do To Reduce the Risk of all Cause and Cause-specific Mortality? [online] in the British Medical Journal; 24th November, at: https://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i5855/rr-0
Public Health England (2018) Physical activity: applying All Our Health [online] at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health/physical-activity-applying-all-our-health
Department of Health and Social Care (2016) Start active, stay active [online] at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/start-active-stay-active-a-report-on-physical-activity-from-the-four-home-countries-chief-medical-officers
Steinhilber, B., (2017) Science shows that placing one foot in front of the other leads to some seriously impressive mental and physical benefits [online] at NBC News; 2nd September, at: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-walking-most-underrated-form-exercise-ncna797271
Cox, D., (2018) Watch your step: Why the 10,000 daily goal is built on bad science [online] in The Guardian; 3rd September, at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/sep/03/watch-your-step-why-the-10000-daily-goal-is-built-on-bad-science