Limavady man encourages people to get active on the commute

Image of Dessie Lowry getting active

Dessie Lowry from Limavady decided to incorporate more physical activity into his work day by bringing his bicycle to work and going for a cycle as part of the Active Travel Challenge (ATC).

The 64-year-old Nursing Consultant at the Public Health Agency (PHA) says getting active on the commute to work has benefitted both his physical and mental health.

Dessie said: “I really enjoy getting active on the commute. I would cycle on the greenway adjacent to my workplace a few days per week, and when I need to attend meetings in Belfast I would also use public transport.

“When I travel actively, I feel so much more refreshed – I already feel like I’ve had a productive morning, so it puts me in a good mood and I feel ready to start the day.

“I’m also more motivated to get out and about at the weekends too. My wife Bernadette and I enjoy getting out for a walk together. It’s a nice way to get a bit of headspace and connect with the world around you, while getting your physical activity in at the same time. Taking part in the Active Travel Challenge has given me some extra motivation as well.”

The Active Travel Challenge is a joint partnership between Sustrans, Translink, the Department for Infrastructure, PHA, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and Belfast City Council. It encourages participants to switch up their usual routine and try walking, cycling or taking public transport as a cleaner, greener way to travel. 

Anyone can sign up for free logging their active travel journeys on the online platform for a chance to win a of range prizes including shopping vouchers, travel tickets, gym passes and rewards with national and regional retailers. 

Dessie continued: “I’m an Active Travel Champion in work and I’ve been working closely with Sustrans to organise lunchtime cycling sessions for my colleagues to encourage them to consider ways to get more active during the day. I would recommend everyone to give the Active Travel Challenge a go, as I have really felt the benefits.”

Gerard Walls, Senior Health and Social Wellbeing Officer at the PHA, added: “Being physically active has so many benefits including helping to reduce stress and anxiety, helps maintain a healthy weight, and can reduce your risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis. 

“Not only is it good for your health but by swapping some of your usual car journeys for cycling or walking, you’re also doing your bit for the environment and saving money on expensive fuel costs. If you’re looking for a simple way to incorporate some physical activity into your routine, the Active Travel Challenge is the perfect way to get started.”

To find out more and get involved in this year’s Active Travel Challenge, go to