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National Fitness Day 2016

Posted on 7th September 2016 by

National Fitness Day is the biggest and most visible annual celebration of physical activity. Taking place on 7th September, this year it co-incides with the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic games. The day aims to try and help overcome the challenge of being fit, by involving lots of local clubs, parks and leisure centres in showcasing what they have on offer.

Everyone knows how important being physically active is, the health benefits are undisputed. But getting & keeping active, can be a challenge.

Here’s our top tips on how to be your fittest:

  • Don’t focus on having to EXERCISE, think more about being ACTIVE. You don’t have to be sweating for 60 minutes in an exercise class to get fit!
  • Variety is key – look to incorporate a variety of physical activities into your week. Mix up an exercise class, a walk, housework, a bike ride, taking the stairs instead of the lift, using the car less on a certain day……..or try different organised activities such as a group walk, yoga class, Pilates.
  • Make it fun & sociable. It’s much easier to stick to something if you enjoy it. Take up something with a friend or arrange a physical activity instead of meeting for a coffee!
  • Try something new. Think outside the box and look for something newly launched or new to you to try.
  • Use a pedometer or activity tracker to monitor how active you are. Set yourself goals or challenge friends or family.
  • Don’t let pain or an injury stop you being active. If you find yourself injured, come and get some expert help and advice to make sure you stay active. Even if you can’t take part temporarily in your chosen activity, there are lots of ways to modify your activities to stay active.

#FitnessDay


‘Shake Up September’ Workplace Challenge

Posted on 5th September 2016 by

Shake Up September Workplace Challenge

Companies and organisations across the UK are invited to take part in the ‘Workplace Challenge’ this month, in a campaign named ‘Shake Up September’. The aim of the programme is to promote sport, physical activity and health improvements across the UK’s workplaces.

With both the Olympics & Paralympics fresh in people’s minds, the Workplace Challenge aims to encourage employees to bring physical activity into the workplace by trying out as many Olympic or Paralympic sports as possible throughout this month.

Why get active in the workplace? 

We spend up to 60% of our waking hours at work and an estimated 40 per cent of people do not exercise enough, according to Public Health England. To help combat the issue, Workplace Challenge, seeks to inspire businesses and encourage workers to get active in and around the working day.

Inspired by Team GB, workers are being urged to sign up to Workplace Challenge for free and try at least five different sports throughout ‘Shake Up September’. The more activities they log via the Workplace Challenge website or mobile app, the more points they will earn for their workplace as they go for gold on a national challenge leaderboard – with prizes on offer for winning individuals and workplaces, plus spot prizes available for those who get active and get involved with the challenge.

County Sports Partnerships across England will also be running local events and activities, as well as offering a host of online offers with local businesses and National Governing Bodies covering a wide range of sports.

Research has shown that physical activity can boost morale, communication, lift team spirit, increase productivity and reduce the number of sickness absence days taken. From our point of view, being active in the workplace can really help prevent and minimise any work related injuries such as back pain, neck pain and overuse injuries or repetitive strains.

The site also has some great resources and ideas for helping encourage activity in the workplace, such as the Flexible Lunch Break Manifesto.

So, download your Sports Bingo card, sign up and get active!

#ShakeUp2016


Is technology to blame for youth inactivity?

Posted on 26th August 2016 by

Research recently undertaken by UK Active has revealed that 9 out of 10 parents blame tech for youth inactivity.

Some Facts & Figures

  • Only half of seven-year-olds are meeting recommended physical activity guidelines of 60 minutes/day.
  • 75% of the 1039 parents interviewed agreed that it is more difficult for parents today to encourage children to become physically active than for previous generations.
  • 90% think technology is partly to blame.
  • Around 10% of children start primary school obese.
  • Only 9% of toddlers are meeting the chief medical officer’s activity guidelines.
  • Just 47% of those in the study think there are enough affordable opportunities for children to be active in their local area during school holidays

As a parent myself I understand the daily battle between over ‘screen time’. I think my kids are pretty active. They all walk to school, they take part in as much sport as possible in and out of school, we get out as a family and enjoy ‘active time’ and they have a garden to play in. My older 2 also share my slight FitBit Activity tracker obsession (and love a bit of healthy competition!) and I was shocked by how little ‘physical activity’ they actually do some days, despite doing all the above.

It has made me think about the very common scenario or typical day of being driven to school and dropped off at the gate, the limited PE provided in schools, wet break (so no opportunity to move around at playtime), being driven home again for an evening sat in front of the TV/playing computer games/doing homework.

It does take investment by parents nowadays to encourage and promote physical activity. But I don’t think it’s purely technology at blame. Many families have working parents who are stretched to their limits too and time resources are scarce. We rely on our cars far too much, so we’re less likely to have physical activity like walking, scooting or cycling built into our daily routine. School sport and PE (in my personal experience) can be pretty shocking! It’s certainly not inspiring for those who aren’t naturally drawn to sport. Organised sports can be expensive and time consuming and not always accessible for everyone. Plus, screen time is often the easy option – when we lead busy lives as working parents, a few hours of quiet time can be bliss!

However, as another report published last year by UK Active highlights, Generation Inactive, inactivity is a ticking tome bomb for the NHS. Just like we want the best for our children in terms of education, nutrition, happiness etc. helping them be physically active is fundamental. We (parents & schools) have to be teaching our children healthy habits for life.

Getting kids active

  • Walk whenever you can – if you find yourself with a bit of extra time, build walking into your day. Seize every opportunity!
  • Take advantage of nature – parks, country parks, beaches…they’re all free to access (apart from parking charges often!) and great for getting kids of all ages active.
  • Arrange to meet friends in an open space for some semi-organised sports, take a ball, rounders, cricket. Once they get going, the kids often take the lead and parents can catch up with others from the sidelines!
  • Take advantage of regular free organised activities in the area like SkyRide or Junior Parkrun. There are also many free sporting activities around in the school holidays. Locally for example, Arsenal Football Club run free coaching sessions in the holidays and in the summer Eastleigh run a great Park Sport scheme.
  • Encourage kids to try something new. Many sports clubs offer free tasters. Try something different or not necessarily mainstream, you may be surprised by what they enjoy.
  • Involve kids in household chores – hoovering, helping in the garden, washing the car. They’re all physical activities, it doesn’t have to be sport.
  • Set a good example. If they see you being active, enjoying investing in your body by walking or exercising, it will be seen as a positive lifestyle choice.

With the cost of games consoles and games these days, how can it not be possible to find a cheaper alternative to be active?!


Get involved in Bike Week 2016 with Southampton Sky Ride

Posted on 9th June 2016 by

Bike Week 2016

Bike week 2016 kicks off this Saturday. Bike Week is an annual opportunity to promote cycling, and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Demonstrating the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, the week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to work or school, the local shops or just to visit friends.

This year’s Bike Week has a special focus and will encourage people to use their bikes to cycle to work. Incorporating cycling into your daily commute has many benefits. Could it be time for you to get back on 2 wheels?

Here in Southampton, the Southampton Sky Ride is a great opportunity to start off Bike Week. It’s happening at 11am on Sunday 12th June and if you’ve never tried it before, it’s a brilliant event for the whole family, whatever your cycling ability. In fact Sky Ride runs social and guided rides locally throughout the year. Again, whatever your level of cycling, you can find something that will inspire and guide you on your cycling journey. The benefits of cycling to work


Drive Less, Live More

Posted on 23rd November 2015 by

drive less live more

It’s Road Safety Week this week and this years message is

‘Drive less and live more’

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea? Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!


Road Safety Week

Posted on 18th November 2015 by

The message this year is to drive less and live more.

Need to go the shop for a few bits for the tea. Do you really need the car or would it be as quick to walk? You’ll probably spend most of your journey looking for a parking space when you do eventually reach your destination.

Leaving the car at home for a day will only help improve the environment by reducing on toxins released from motor vehicles.

By taking the train or the bus to work, we can all make our roads safer. It would mean less traffic, speeding up the daily commute which I think we would all agree is a major benefit.

Walking and cycling also gives the extra benefit of stretching our legs and getting some regular exercise. Even a short walk from the bus-stop to our place of work is sufficient to raise the heart rate and improve circulation. This way we can build exercise into our daily routine without feeling the need to find more time in our already busy days to undertake formal exercise, like going to the gym.

So let’s try leaving the car at home for short journeys and walking or cycling instead. You might even feel better for it!