With preparations for the Olympics in full swing, boxer Paddy Barnes has teamed up with the Public Health Agency (PHA) to encourage people of all ages to use the games as inspiration to get active.
Medal-winning Olympian and Commonwealth champion Barnes said: “As someone who will be participating in the London games, I have a rigorous fitness regime. However, you don’t need to train like a boxer to keep fit.
“Being active is important for people of all ages, from toddlers to older people, as it can help you keep a healthy weight and feel better. It can also make you feel better by improving your mood, reducing anxiety and protecting against depression.
“I am delighted to be competing in this year’s Olympics and hope that the games being so close to home will inspire people to get active.”
One man who was inspired to get active is Brian Jordan from Dromore. Five years ago Brian, who was overweight, had a heart attack at the age of 39. He then decided something needed to be done.
As he explains : “Through my GP, I signed up to Fit & Well Physical Activity Programme with a wide range of activities, for example circuit training, spinning, running and badminton, and at the end of this eight-week programme I had lost a stone. I also attended a healthy eating class once a week in Banbridge Leisure Centre.
“I enjoyed the programme so much, I decided to keep up my new healthy lifestyle and joined a follow-on class every Friday as well as going to the gym three times a week.
“To date I’ve lost four and a half stone and am enjoying life to the full, and I would encourage other people to get active as it can really increase your enjoyment of life.”
Experts recommend that regular physical activity of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week for adults and older people and 60 minutes every day for kids is really important for good health and can reduce the risk of many diseases including heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Adults and older people should try to be active daily and one way of achieving the recommended weekly activity levels is to be active for 30 minutes five days a week.
Colette Brolly, Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement Manager, PHA, said: It’s easy for kids and adults to get into the habit of spending their spare time sitting down, watching TV and playing computer games, but making small changes to increase your activity can make a significant difference to your health. The Olympics and inspirational sportspeople like Paddy Barnes provide fantastic motivation to get active.
“Some activity is better than none and people who have not been very active should try to build up gradually to the recommended levels. Adults, including older people, do not need to take 30 minutes of activity all at once, as it can be taken in 10-minute bouts throughout the day.
“It’s never too late – start with small changes to your daily routine. For example, you could go for a walk in the park, get out in the garden, play sport, go for swim in the local leisure centre, walk to the shops, and try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down watching TV or playing computer games.”
For further information on getting active as a family visit www.getalifegetactive.com
Notes to the editor
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