A new report published today by the All Party Commission on Physical Activity has highlighted the need for greater physical activity amongst the UK population.
With news that physical inactivity accounts for nearly one-fifth of premature deaths in the UK and rising, Rob Joules, the National Trust’s Sports Partnership Manager, explains how the Trust is working with partner organisations to encourage more people to take part in sport.
“This new report highlights the growing epidemic of inactivity and the serious dangers this poses for our children’s health. We’re working with a variety of partners to help create greater entry level sporting opportunities, which we believe are the key to encouraging more people to get active. By working with these organisations we’re focusing on developing fun, social activities that will help people lead more active lifestyles.
“The Trust cares for some of the UK’s most special places and there are a huge variety of ways for people to enjoy them. Working with British Cycling we have curated a summer-led ride calendar that is aimed at encouraging beginner cyclists to explore our places. Led by qualified leaders these free cycling events offer a brilliant opportunity to see stunning landscapes and get active too. We hope that the inspiring scenery, safe activities and the pull of the great outdoors will help to motivate people to come and have a go.
“We’re also working with the British Canoe Union (BCU) to help people discover places close to where they live where they can go for a paddle. Last year, no. 50 on our list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ was canoe down a river. In fact, a total 7 of last year’s 50 things activities were sport related, which we saw kids ticking off across our places.
“By working with partners such as the British Cycling, BCU, the British Mountaineering Council and many others we have been able to inspire and encourage children to be more active. 60,000 people took part in sporting activities on Trust land with us last year and this year we hope the number will be even higher with the continued support of Sport England and other organisations.
“We know that team sports and sports that were played at school don’t appeal to everyone so a really varied offer is vital for ensuring there is something for everyone no matter what your fitness and ability. Examples include Nordic walking, wild swimming, buggy running (for parents with new babies) and plenty more.”
The National Trust is also one of the founders of The Wild Network which was set up to encourage children to spend more wild time outdoors by raising awareness, enabling families to get out more and breaking through barriers between kids and nature.