Sometimes it’s not easy to get active. Finding five spare minutes in our fast paced modern lives may feel better spent sitting down and resting from the onslaught of responsibilities and stress that life throws at us. However there has never been a more important time for us all to be getting active and moving more. Staying mobile helps us preserve our independence and keep doing the stuff we love whether that be gardening or climbing up a mountain. Across the UK thousands of people struggle with conditions that make it hard to get mobile and stay active.
Getting active in the face of adversity
“Look, if you don’t stay active you get old very quickly. Whether you’re getting up a mountain or getting out of bed… the important thing is to keep going.” Lord Ian Botham
Many of you are probably aware of the name Ian Botham, either through his legendary cricket exploits of the eighties or from his famous charity walks over the years. In late 2022 Lord Ian Botham found himself having to undergo serious surgery on his knee, rendering him incapable of playing sport and engaging in regular exercise.
For a man that once prided himself on physical fitness it wasn’t easy facing up to the fact that a lot of his mobility and physical activity had been restricted. But rather than accept his fate, Lord Botham dedicated the past year to his personal journey of recovery, rediscovering the profound value of physical and mental well-being through exercise. After a year of struggle, Lord Botham made a triumphant return to the world of competitive golfing, and is set to compete at Dunhill links later this year.
Get Britain moving again
Ian Botham has been an advocate of moving more his whole career. In 1985 “Beefy” began walking for charity. Walking the 874 miles from John O’ Groates to Lands end, Lord Ian Botham was joined by tens of thousands of people inspired to get active for a good cause. In 2017 Botham finished his final charity walk in Australia due to medical reasons but that didn’t stop his drive to get Britain moving again. Since recovering from surgery, Lord Botham has dived straight back into promoting how important moving more can be.
Reflecting on the ease of staying active during youth, Lord Botham fondly notes, “When you were younger, you didn’t have to think about exercise because you were exercising every day – out on the sports field and the playground. Nobody thought, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do some exercise,’ you just did it. As you get older, it gets a bit trickier to look after yourself, so you must be more disciplined.”
Prioritising our wellbeing
Amidst an illustrious career in the sporting industry, Ian has taken some serious knocks and always managed to rise from the ashes. He loves watching TV as much as the rest of us, but he insists that we must balance our screen-time with daily activity. “When you feel down and out, it’s easy to slump in a chair and turn on the TV. Yes, there’s fantastic sport on TV, but watch that and then step out for a walk. It’s crucial to keep your body active.”
While government initiatives like “Change 4 Life” have long encouraged increased physical activity, Lord Botham believes that in an era dominated by heavy technology dependence, it is crucial to reconnect with nature and prioritise physical activity. Our bodies are not designed for prolonged periods of inactivity, and in light of the strain on healthcare systems worldwide, it is an opportune moment to reevaluate and adopt better living practices. Small life changes can make a big difference and prioritising our health and wellbeing is the first step.
Move more is a rallying cry for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to get active to promote positive physical and mental health. The benefits of moving more, even if for just a few minutes a day, are undeniable. Doctors from around the world have stressed that regular physical exercise can help prevent a plethora of conditions that can limit your quality of life.
Dr. Rob Galloway, an A&E Doctor and honorary clinical professor, recently published an article citing two new studies that reveal the tremendous benefits of even small amounts of exercise for both adults and children. According to Dr. Galloway, “Doing regular exercise is the single most important thing that anyone can do for their health and thus reduce demand on healthcare systems.”
Dr. Galloway’s article highlights concerns about the UK healthcare system, which currently focuses primarily on treating acute illnesses at the expense of prevention. This approach has led to unsustainable demand and potential harm to patients. The need for a shift in mindset towards prevention to preserve a healthy healthcare service for all is urgent, and this is why Sir Ian’s Move more campaign is so important.
What can we do to move more?
We don’t have to walk the breadth of the country or compete in the ashes to move more. By finding a little time in our day to engage in light to moderate physical exercise you can give your body the tools it needs to stay healthy, supple and functional. No matter what age we are it’s never too late to introduce a bit more physical activity into your day. Whether you start the day by stretching or get off the bus a stop early to walk the rest of the way.
There are a range of government schemes offering help and support for people trying to stay active so look into what your local gym or sports centre might be offering that can help encourage you to move more. Getting involved in local sporting events and activities isn’t just great for your body, it’s a fantastic way to meet other people interested in getting active. Encourage your friends and family to join you in your quest to get moving, and together we can build a brighter, better and more active future.