9th September 2015 marked ukactive’s National Fitness Day, billed as the ‘most active day of the year’. “National Fitness Day is a chance for everyone, no matter how fit they are, to try something new and get the activity bug,” said Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, chair of ukactive.
For the first time, National Fitness Day this year sought to engage with schools, in order to promote the fun of fitness to primary school children. Primary schools across the UK took part by running activities designed to get their children more active. Each participating school received a tailored toolkit of information to help them put on a whole day of activities across the curriculum, including supportive materials such as downloadable planning packs with suggested activities for various key stages, as well as certificates to celebrate their participation in the most active day of the year!
Harmondsworth Primary School The ukactive team, alongside Chair Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Planet Education sports coaches, visited Harmondsworth Primary school on the morning of National Fitness Day. The schools’ regular active breakfast club saw almost the whole school turn out especially to celebrate the most active day of the year and get the day off to a great start. The event was also attended by a Sky Sports News team who had the chance to see first-hand what just one of the over 780 primary schools across the UK taking part in National Fitness Day were doing.
After the breakfast club the whole of Harmondsworth Primary school took part in an assembly with Tanni Grey‑Thompson, who talked to the children about the importance of being active at a young age, why she believes keeping active is an important part of her life and the benefits it can have throughout everyone’s lives. Tanni also answered questions from the children who very patiently raised their hands hoping to speak to the 11‑time Paralympic gold medallist.
National Fitness Day is about getting children of all ages to engage with physical activity in a positive way, helping build a strong relationship with exercise and habits that will set them up to be a healthy adult. Previous ukactive research has emphasised the scale of inactivity among Britons, with 29 per cent of the UK population classed as physically inactive – a higher proportion than most other EU countries, and even the USA.
Move for their seat The campaign within schools marked part of ukactive’s broader National Fitness Day campaign, which saw over 2,000 health clubs across the country – including major operators such as Fitness First, Parkwood Leisure and Places for People Leisure – put on a total of over 10,000 classes to celebrate the day.
Meanwhile, a number of high-profile MPs such as Diane Abbott and Caroline Nokes pledged to ‘move for their seat’ as part of the campaign. In the lead up to National Fitness Day, participating MPs tracked their own activity levels using either a Myzone MZ-3 heart-rate tracking belt, or a Fitlinxx Pebble+ accelerometer device provided by ukactive, to record their activity throughout the campaign and see how representatives of each political party measure up against each other.
National Fitness Day (#FitnessDay) also enjoyed significant attention on social media, and was among the top trending topics on Twitter throughout the day. Brands as diverse as Adidas and Netflix, to the BBC as well as government bodies and charities such as Macmillan, all tweeted about National Fitness Day. The campaign also received support from a broad range of high-profile figures including Boris Johnson and Sally Gunnell to name a few.
National Fitness Day marks another step in ukactive’s mission to get more children, more active, more often. Since Compass was formally integrated into ukactive to form ukactive Kids in March 2015, the organisation has already made a significant impact, most notably through the launch of our Generation Inactive report in June this year.
ukactive’s Chair, Baroness Tanni Grey‑Thompson said: “Getting children involved in physical activity is absolutely crucial if we’re going create a lasting impact on the health of our nation and having a more active Britain. That is why we wanted to work with schools across the country to help them deliver programme of activities that will not only make 9 September the most active day in the year, but also lead more children to having a positive relationship with physical activity.”