A health conscious society interested in an active lifestyle has taken on a more organized and coordinated face in the UK in the form of a national day commemorating healthy physical activity. An initiative by ‘ukactive’, a not-for-profit organization, in conjunction with a fitness company, énergie Group, and with numerous other sports companies is celebrating second annual National Fitness Day on 9th September 2015. This event is a follow up to the highly successful first event held last September to promote awareness of health and fitness in UK.
The idea is to make people health cautious on National Fitness Day. The public is invited to take part in the free ‘Power Half Hour’ exercise sessions throughout the country. National-level free events and activities will take place in schools, workplaces, leisure centers, fitness clubs etc, while many participating gyms will be open for free to everyone on this day.
After a successful National Fitness Day 2014 where nearly 2,000 venues opened their doors to run free ‘Power-Half-Hour’ exercise sessions for the general public, this year ukactive is planning a much bigger and better event of physical activity as emphasized by Steven Ward, the executive director of ukactive stating that “there is nothing more important to the sector than celebrating the fun of fitness and engaging the public.” They intend to achieve this goal by reaching out to charities, schools, businesses as well as non-members and Members of Parliament to make this occasion a great success story.
To ensure participation of MPs in their drive they have launched the ‘Move For Your Seat’ campaign, which includes monitoring physical activity levels in the lead up to the National Fitness Day through the use of an accelerometers and heart rate monitor (MZ-3 belt). Along with that, a free Parklives session and opportunity to attend a session with one of ukactive’s exercise-on-referral professionals is also available.
The statistics by Public Health England for 2014 back the need for a concerted effort for the need of such a day;
- One in four women and one in five men do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, thereby classified as ‘inactive’
- Physical inactivity is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability in the UK”
Jan Spaticchia of the énergie Group explained celebrating National Fitness Day in September specifically because the month “is a key time for the fitness industry and when we see a significant increase in the number of people taking up a gym membership, which tells us the nation has fitness on their mind. There are also hundreds of free ways to exercise but the key message for National Fitness Day is to do something.”
Another aim of the National Fitness day is to reach the younger generation who have markedly become inactive with the advent of smartphones, tablets, and extended internet usage. In order to promote healthy physical activities among children and young people, ukactive has invited schools to take part by running activities designed to get their students more active. Physical activity is intended to lead to long term benefits such as the acquisition of social skills of leadership, teamwork and cooperation, while leading to better concentration in school and displacement of anti-social behaviors.