Sport Ireland has launched Your Personal Best Month, which will run throughout November, aimed at getting men over 45 more physically active.
It is often the hardest mile to travel with those who need it most and while many sectors of the population have shown significant increases in levels of physical activity, Sport Ireland’s Irish Sports Monitor 2019 revealed that only one in four men aged 45-54 meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week.
On average, men of this age are physically active for just 87 minute per week or 12 minutes per day, with one in six not participating in any sport or exercise.
Clearly, those numbers need to be shifted, like the men and that is what the campaign aims to achieve.
Actor and broadcaster Simon Delaney and former Ireland rugby international John Hayes are acting as campaign ambassadors, but this is one where personal choices can be made to very positive effect.
I recently recommitted to finding time every day to build in walking that adds up to a total of 12 kilometres a day, or 84 kilometres a week, the equivalent of two marathons.
It sounds like a major commitment but in bite-size chunks of two hours or four half hours, it makes a material difference. That level wouldn’t work for many but even at a quarter of it, the minimum weekly activity would be knocked out of the park.
Psychologically men are supposed to work well to numbers and targets, witness the number of gadgets available to those ‘mamils’ who take to their bicycles in pursuit of activity.
In that context, the campaign looks like it has been well put together.
Your Personal Best Month will encourage men to stop making excuses and to engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week.
The campaign is being supported by various sporting National Governing Bodies such as Cycling Ireland, Athletics Ireland, Get Ireland Walking and Swim Ireland, who will provide information, advice and programmes for men who want to become more active with resources available online.
The campaign is also being supported by the nationwide network of Local Sports Partnerships, who will provide practical support on the ground.
Repeated studies have consistently shown that males aged over 45, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, are amongst those least likely to be active. As a result, they suffer from worse health, mental and physical, and are more likely to die younger, than the rest of the population.
“The positive role that sport and physical activity play in our health and physical wellbeing as a nation should never be underestimated.,” said Minister of State for Sport, Jack Chambers.
“Your Personal Best Month will have a positive impact on a group that are consistently under-represented when it comes to participation in sport and physical activity, which in turn will have knock-on benefits for them in terms of their health and wellbeing.”
“The current pandemic has highlighted the need more than ever for people to care for themselves and sport and physical activity are a brilliant outlet for many to do so.”
“It’s wonderful that this campaign is being supported by our network of national Governing Bodies and Local Sports Partnerships that reach into every community in the country, and this integrated approach will offer increased opportunities for those men who are looking to become more physically active,” added Sport Ireland CEO John Treacy.
“One of Sport Ireland’s key roles is to increase participation in sport and physical activity across all sections in society and Your Personal Best Month will play vital role in this.”
“People can exercise and be physically active during Level 5 restrictions, and we would encourage everyone to continue to do so for their own wellbeing, but we also ask that people respect the guidelines and exercise within 5km of their home and if they are exercising with others to maintain social distancing of 2m as it’s important that we all play our part in keeping everyone safe.”
Sport for Business Partners