Let’s work together for a fitter city

Sheffield Hallam Park Run: first lap
Sheffield Hallam Park Run: first lap

Sheffield is putting plans in place to help make it easier for people to move more, and enjoy all the benefits that come with being more physically active.

As part of the Health and Social Care Act (2012), a health and wellbeing board has been set up to advise about key issues for local government and the NHS.

One of the key areas identified to focus on is physical activity. Why? Because being active is one of most important things we can do for good physical and mental health. There is also a strong association between being more active and being more wealthy. An active city realises huge benefits in terms of reducing crime, social isolation, and improving the local economy.

But it is getting harder to be active in our modern world, with computers, cars and other gadgets – we have engineered movement out of our lives.

Being physically active does not have to involve going to the gym or playing a sport. It can mean walking more around the office, standing in meetings, taking the lift, walking the kids to school…..anything that helps you to move more helps.

So the Health and Wellbeing board has set up a food and physical activity workstream- and two parallel boards are working in these areas. For physical activity we have the Move More board. which will launch a whole city strategy to provide a blueprint for a city that is more active. It aims to influence how the environment is designed, the ethos in workplaces and schools, how health care encourages activity, and how we can inspire and motivate people to choose to be more active. Its members are drawn from a range of community organisations, public bodies and private business. The common characterisitic is a fierce drive to help this city become one of the most active in the world.

It is a long-term strategy, and it intends to be ‘bottom up’, not ‘top down’. It will seek to work with the assets that already exist. There is a great history of activity in the city. There is a wealth of enthusiasm in sports clubs, community groups, leisure centres, and volunteer groups. The Move more board aims to link these up, support them, and to help them do what they do best. We want to help people to find the right opportunity for them.

To finish with a great example, Sheffield now has six parkruns, the most outside of London. Over 1000 people are now turning up to a parkrun at 9am on a Saturday morning at either Graves, Hillsborough, Endcliffe, Manor Fields, Concord, or Rothervalley parks.

So watch this space, look out for the Movemore logo, and join in. It might just make you healthier, happier and richer.