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New campaign challenges politicians to prove they're 'Fit for Office' by engaging in physical activity

By Kath Hudson    19 Feb 2024
MPs Alun Cairns, Kim Leadbeater, Wendy Chamberlain, Nick Smith with Huw Edwards / UK Active
UK Active and Myzone are gearing up to launch Fit for Office
Politicians are being encouraged to sign up to the challenge to earn Myzone Effort Points
In the run-up to the UK election, the challenge puts the fitness sector at the heart of government
Operators are being called on to mobilise their local politicians to get them engaged

In a soft power exercise, politicians in the UK have been invited to take part in a challenge which encourages them to be more active, while raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity.

Kicking off in March, the initiative – called Fit for Office – is the result of a partnership between UK Active and global fitness tracking provider, Myzone and has been designed as a fun way of getting the importance of fitness and wellbeing onto the radar of politicians.

The same challenge has been accepted by politicians in Australia and the USA in recent years.

The partners are aiming to raise awareness for the sector in government and are aiming to engage senior politicians.

Participants will be given a MZ-Switch heart rate monitor that measures their physical activity across the month. They will accrue Myzone Effort Points (MEPs) that can be collected by exercising within the target heart-rate zones over a given period – the more effort that's put into each workout or activity, the more points can be earned.

The UK launch comes off the back of a successful pilot in 2022.

Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active, says: “Fit for Office provides a friendly competition that challenges our MPs, peers and others working in Parliament to be more active in their daily lives and to experience the physical and mental benefits themselves.

“The health of our nation has never been of greater concern, so we also hope this challenge will help our politicians to appreciate the significance physical activity holds for the communities they serve and consider new ways that we can support people to be more active together.”

Dave Wright, founder of Myzone Group, said: “After seeing the success of the challenge in Australia and the USA, we’re looking forward to seeing if MPs, peers and their teams across the UK can raise the bar and take on Fit for Office this March. It promises to be a busy year for British politics so it’s great to be able to support those involved to ensure they stay active and at the top of their game.”

Liz Terry, editor of HCM, said: "It's become obvious over the last five years that politicians have very limited knowledge of the health and fitness and wellness industries, which is extraordinary, considering the billions they contribute to economies worldwide in terms of both healthy workforces and the economic activity associated with the sector and the savings they bring to a whole range of public services, from health and social care to social services.

"We hope to see senior politicians and members of the cabinet and shadow cabinet engaging with this excellent initiative and showing that, not only do they support and recognise the work of the sector, but also that they're committed to their own health and wellbeing.

"Gone are the days when it was acceptable for politicians to be better known for propping up the bar and suffering from avoidable lifestyle diseases. Today, people expect to see politicians taking their health seriously and looking after themselves, setting a good example and leading the country on the world stage from a position of good health.

"We'd like to see the Fit for Office initiative become a worldwide, annual event and we're calling on politicians from around the world to get involved and commit to exercise and taking part in a global ranking," said Terry.

If you live in the UK, you can lobby your local member of Parliament using the UK Active toolkit here.

To support the challenge on your social media channels, use #FitForOffice or check out thesetemplates.

To find out more and to register for the challenge, email Stephen McLoughlin at UK Active.

Myzone  UK Active  Huw Edwards  Fit for Office  Westminster  Liz Terry 
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