Public Health England’s purpose is to protect and improve the nation’s health and this includes providing evidence-based information and data to help others make informed choices about managing their own health and wellbeing. There is perhaps no stronger way of presenting a message than by demonstrating you are committed to it yourself. This blog, therefore, captures what we have been doing within PHE to participate in the #WeActiveChallenge during August and keep physically active. From talking the talk, to walking the walk….literally!
The challenge inspires a number of professional groups to do daily physical activities and post the evidence on Twitter, with a little friendly rivalry thrown in to crown the champion group who post the most tweets. Across PHE we have AHPs, doctors, nurses and midwives participating and competing and supporting their peers from other organisation across the country who are also partaking. Last year thousands of Tweets were posted and the AHPs pipped the nurses to the title. This year it is another close race between these two groups!
In the PHE Chief Nurse Directorate all the team have been participating in some way, including an organised group walk from the office to the Tate Modern and up the stairs to the 10th floor viewing gallery.
Herein lies the important lesson from the #WeActiveChallenge. As individuals we have been motivated by this on-line community challenge but we can use that motivation, both in terms of understanding how it has stirred ourselves to action and how it can be transferred to others, to get everyone more physically active. PHE's new Active 10 app is a simple way to assist you in building some brisk walking into your routine and something you can easily promote to others. You can also refresh and build your knowledge and confidence to raise the issue with those you care for through your practice with All Our Health which has a topic on physical activity.
Here is a sample of what people from across PHE have been doing:
Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse, has been working out in the gym, jogging and walking a fair few miles during August. She has also been taking her grandson out in his pram, building that upper arm strength! Not only has she achieved her #WeActiveChallenge gold badge (earned for 25 tweets) but she has also earned the 747 Fitbit badge indicating she has climbed the distance of 4000 floors (the height of a 747 jet in flight!)
Joanne Bosanquet, Deputy Chief Nurse, is a keen cyclist, always pedalling between offices to attend meetings. With a new puppy, Snowy, she is taking every opportunity to get out with the family and do some walking. She has also been swimming and is training for a fun run. A proud #WeActiveChallenge gold badge owner!
Jamie Waterall, National Lead for CVD Prevention & Associate Deputy Chief Nurse, has been out walking with his family, swimming and has replaced taking the lift with using the stairs. You can watch him in action as he takes on the long winding stairs at Elephant and Castle tube (pic.twitter.com/yTe5yaRTot) and tries out the Active 10 app (pic.twitter.com/pdd58JPYdj)
Nicky Brown, CYP Public Health Specialist and Senior Nurse London Region, having managed 33km in a walking challenge in May, is no stranger to the art of putting one foot in front of the other and achieved over 14 miles in just one day as part of her daily walk for #WeActiveChallenge
Helen Kirk, Nursing and Midwifery Revalidation Lead Occupational Health Nursing ＆ Midwifery, had already achieved 200,000 steps by August 13th by walking in the Alps and supplemented this with cycling up a few mountains too: they have proper hills there!
Gul Root, Lead Pharmacist - pledged to do a 10-minute brisk walk every day, play tennis at least once a week, walk up and down the stairs rather than take the lift, take a minimum of 13000 steps every day. She also encouraged friends and family to set some kind of target for the month too.
Wendy Nicholson, Lead Nurse for Children, Young People and Families, already a keen dog walker, has been increasing her steps in the company of Alf, her border collie, managing over 100,000 steps in a week…..and finding the time for a little tennis too! She has truly earnt her #WeActiveChallenge gold badge.
Pauline Watts has been cycling, walking the undulating cliff paths of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset/Devon between Sidmouth and Charmouth, with Beer along the way (the coastal town rather than the alcoholic drink!), taking her daughter’s puppy for regular walks and, as any grandparent will know - the most exhausting activity of all - looking after her young grandchildren!
Penny Greenwood, Associate Nurse for Children, Young People and Families, has been cycling up to 40 miles each week with her cycling club across the beautiful Peak District and taking regular walks through the countryside, pushing prams and wheel chairs around her home town and strolling at pace along the streets’ of London and San Francisco. She has also been encouraging others to get active.
Linda Hindle, Lead Allied Health Professional, says: ‘I look forward to the annual #weactivechallenge. It is a real incentive to be more active than usual and to try new things. Last year I pledged to do something different everyday which led me to climb waterfalls, test my hoola-hooping skills and see whether I could still do cartwheels. Here is a blog about my experience last year.
This year we are coming to the end of a building project at home so some days I’ve put my active challenge to a productive use, including painting and building furniture. I try to be reasonably active anyway because it makes me feel physically and mentally well, however the #weactivechallenge adds a further element of fun and healthy competition – come on team #AHPsactive!’
Michelle Watson, Health Protection Practitioner Yorkshire and the Humber PHE Centre, has been doing her martial arts and the whole family’s involved too. Michelle is a 3rd degree black belt and spars with her family….who thankfully are also black belts.
Sarah Murphy, Screening and Immunisation Coordinator, swam 30 minutes every day during her summer holiday and committed to continuing her exercise on returning home.
Alison Morton, Best Start in Life Programme Manager, has a walker’s paradise on her doorstep in the shape of the New Forest and has been out regularly traversing the open spaces and stepping round those other locals, the ponies. She has also been partaking in some swimming.
Get motivated with the new Active 10 app and motivate others!