Today at The Young Foundation we are quite literally jumping with excitement. Even our very own Chief Executive Simon Willis was up bright and early this morning to show off a few moves.
Why? It’s all because today sees the launch of the All-Party Parliamentary Commission on Physical Activity. We’ve long recognised there’s a staggering decline in levels of physical activity across the UK. We’ve seen a 20% drop in physical activity between 1961 and 2005. If that trend continues, physical activity in the UK will reduce by more than 35% by 2030. I have a horrible feeling that as of right now, I personally am part of that statistic, so please keep reading to the end and find out how you can make me feel the burn a little more often over the next few months.
Taking part in physical activity delivers a lifetime of benefits – from reducing the risk of serious diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, to having a protective effect on our mental wellbeing and improving academic performance. Playing games also teaches us vital life skills such as teamwork and creativity, and provides a supportive environment to learn about coping with failure.
That’s why it is so important to get everyone moving more, but particularly young people who are laying down the patterns and habits which will take them through life. We need to help people overcome the barriers to physical activity and help children to find fun ways to integrate it into everyday life.
So we are delighted to be supporting the launch of the All-Party Activity Commission and to be working with the co-chairs to produce the final report next spring.
Of course, we can’t get to that final report without hearing what everyone has to say. We need input and contributions from you to make the Commission a real success. Whether you are an academic expert in urban planning and transport, a frontline professional in health or education, or a parent of young children, we want to hear your views on these questions:
• How can we tackle the inactivity crisis in the UK?
• How can we help the 62% of parents who would like their children to be more physically active make it a reality?
• How can we design physical activity back into every day life?
• What does and doesn’t work and what can we learn from the rest of the world?
We hope that you will take the time to submit evidence to the Parliamentary Commission and spread the word to encourage others. You can find out more about how to do that here.
I also hope that the question going through your mind right now is not “Why bother? Surely all the ‘experts’ will do it.” But it may be. So here at The Young Foundation, the Activity Commission team has decided to put its money where its mouth is and do our bit to encourage you all to respond. So here’s our pledge: For every (genuine!) submission received, we will run 1k, hopefully in the same week we receive it. Believe me, I am no runner but still I implore you to help me get fit for Christmas and at the same time make sure that the Activity Commission truly does receive the widest possible range of evidence from across all sectors and all groups of society.
We’ll keep you updated on progress but in the meantime, in the immortal lyrics of SClub7, don’t stop moving…
You can follow the conversation around the Activity Commission and the crisis of physical inactivity on our website, and on Twitter using the hashtag #ActivityCommission. To submit evidence to the Commission, download the evidence form. You can check in on and send encouragement to the team at The Young Foundation running 1k per evidence submission through their Twitter profiles, @vboelman @petergerry and @kate_bagley.