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The Legacy of the London 2012 Olympics. Can we keep it alive?

The Legacy of the London 2012 Olympics. Can we keep it alive?

We all enjoyed the 2012 Olympics. Even without the vaguest interest in the Olympic sports it was impossible not to be swept along in the excitement and bathe in the reflected glory of team GB’s success.

There is a lasting benefit to the Games, too. According to a survey carried out by Sport England in 2013, since we won the bid in 2005, 1.5 million  more people are doing sport once a week. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

However, roughly a quarter of all adults are obese. Many argue that obesity is one of the biggest killers of our time and there is no denying the link between obesity and activity levels.

Clearly we are still not fit enough.

Just how unfit are we then?

The 2012 Health Survey for England reported that only 61% of adults met the current UK guidelines of 150 minutes of ‘moderately intense’ physical activity a week. Almost a third of adults don’t even clock up 30 minutes.

Children are in even worse shape. Only 21% of boys and 16% of girls aged 5-15 met the guidelines of 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

Let’s put this in context: internationally, 31.1% of adults are physically inactive. In case you haven’t done the maths, we Brits come in at 39%.

We really are an unfit nation.

The government’s aim

Can we keep the legacy of the Olympic Games alive and harness its momentum to get us all partaking in sport rather than just watching it on the telly, beer in hand?

The government certainly hopes so. It is trying hard to push increased activity levels as part of the Olympic legacy.

Moving More, Living More was produced by the Department of Health as part of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic legacy. In the paper, the government pledges to remain committed to the following ambition, first published in 2012:

  1. To have a year on year increase in the number of adults doing 150 minutes of physical activity (in bouts of 10 minutes or more); and
  2. To have a year on year decrease in those who are inactive, defined as doing less than 30 minutes of exercise per week (in bouts of 10 minutes or more).

Why does the government care so much about whether we’re fit?

It’s not just the job of the government to care - you should care about whether you’re fit, too.

For a start, there are multiple health benefits. Here are a few in a seemingly endless list:

  1. According to a 2004 government report, active people are happier and more satisfied with life than non-active people. They also sleep better - they fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply and for longer. Physical activity also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-50% and colon cancer by 30-50%
  2. A 2008 report from the US claims that very active people reduce their risk of dying early – from anything -  by 30%. It also claims that regular, physical activity lowers the risk of: coronary heart disease and stroke by 20-35%, and breast cancer by 20%.
  3. Authors of another report found that for older people, simply walking can prevent dementia. Walking reduces falls, helps to retain muscle mass and increases functional fitness, promoting independence. For every mile walked per day over a sustained period, cognitive decline was found to be reduced by 13%.
  4. There are studies that have shown that active kids are healthier, have fewer psychological problems  and are better at social interaction. They also do better in school as physical activity improves cognitive performance and confidence. 60 minutes of exercise a day also ensures good bone health and muscle development in children.
  5. A report from the Department of Health found that in the under 5’s, physical activity optimises growth and develops motor skills and social skills. It also enhances bone and muscular development.

Health benefits aside, exercise would ensure we left the recession firmly behind – just a 1% increase in activity could save an estimated £1.2 billion over 5 years.

This is all very well but I just don’t have time to fit in all this exercise I’m supposed to be doing.

We hear you. You can’t exactly get your boss to install a treadmill at your desk, can you?

If we are going to hit the government’s target and keep the legacy alive, we all need to find a way to fit exercise into our already hectic lives.

This is where Hussle comes in handy. We offer flexible fitness so you can squeeze in a workout wherever you find yourself.

So move more. Get fit. Set a good example to your kids - they will thank you for it eventually.

Let’s make the legacy of London 2012 last a lifetime.