Getting active on National Fitness Day in Lincolnshire

This year National Fitness Day falls on Wednesday 27 September and the organisers are encouraging the nation to celebrate the fun of fitness and physical activity across the UK. To mark the Day, this week Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is highlighting some of the fantastic fitness sessions taking place all year-round in different locations.

Older people taking part in an exercise class

In 2011, énergie Group, the largest and fastest growing fitness franchise company in the UK, founded National Fitness Day. The company then gifted National Fitness Day to ukactive in 2014. The aim is to establish National Fitness Day as the most active day of the year.

We know the benefits of regular exercise includes a healthier heart, increased wellbeing, and a better quality of life. However, many of us find it a struggle. Research shows that if you exercise in company, you are more likely to stick at it. The social atmosphere creates a positive environment that is important in helping us to have fun. This is at the heart of GOGA’s work- fun and inclusion.

Funded by Spirit of 2012, GOGA is an exciting programme that supports disabled and non‑disabled people to take part in fun and inclusive activities together. It aims to make activity more appealing for everyone. Working in 18 different areas across the UK, partners are delivering over 30,000 sessions over three years. One of those locations is Lincolnshire and their team has set up sessions with the Royal British Legion. Here, we talk to Lindsay Barrett, Cultural Officer for Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure & Culture, about the benefits of regular fitness opportunities that are accessible at a local level.

Royal British Legion sessions

As part of the Lincolnshire Get Out Get Active programme, one element of the programme is to work with the Royal British Legion (RBL) to get Veterans, their friends and their families active. Working with the 11 branches of RBL in East Lindsey, Alford was a target for the pilot. Through this, we could gauge interest, see how the branches work and how active members are in their community, as well as get an insight in to how RBL function.

For Alford we worked in consultation with its members and set up a weekly session at the local community hall. We offered a wide range of activities to begin with including new age kurling, boccia, badminton and walking routes. These activities seemed to be very popular within the community- ‘something new to try’ was constant feedback from members.

The members of RBL are very active in the community. The majority of members are involved with at least one other organisation or community group. This made advertising of new sessions very easy and word of mouth has been the easiest way to interact with the community.

The activity takes place on a weekly basis at the community hall in the centre of Alford. It’s a community hub where most people there are familiar with attending. This was necessary for the attendees to provide familiar surroundings. A qualified instructor, employed by Magna Vitae to deliver GOGA, leads the sessions.

The people who take part are RBL members, but we found that they bring their friends along to the session, helping to make it more social. The participants attending are predominantly 65+, retired and a mix of disabled and non-disabled people. It means the instructor is able to adapt the activities to make them inclusive for everyone.

The success has continued past the initial 12-week delivery plan as a volunteer from the local day centre offered their time to continue its delivery. GOGA has funded their training, which includes getting them first aid trained and purchasing some equipment. We capture feedback continuously from participants. These sessions are customer-led so the focus is all about what do they want; what they would like to do and putting this in to practice.

For National Fitness Day, we will be opening our doors to the public on 27 September. People can come and try a range of activities at Meridian Leisure Centre, Station Sports Centre, Embassy Pool & Fitness Suite and Horncastle Pool & Fitness Suite. If you are interested in getting involved, you can find out more here. Any sessions we have on during this day are been communicated as free to participants.

Instructors are always signposting participants to other activities, venues and events to ensure they stay active in the community as well as trialling new activities.

We are finding that some participants are gaining confidence after attending our sessions. This is encouraging them to go to other activities they may not have tried before or were worried about attending. It’s the ‘I can’ attitude rather than ‘I can’t’!

Find out how you can get involved in the Get Out Get Active programme here.