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National Fitness Day to get millions of people physically active

By Tom Walker    22 Sep 2021
Nigel Huddleston (left) joined Team GB’s gold-winning diver Matty Lee (right) and ukactive chair Tanni Grey-Thompson (centre) at Jubilee Hall Gym / ukactive
The annual National Fitness Day is taking place across the UK today (22 September)
The theme for this year’s event is ‘Fitness Unites Us’, focusing on the ways that physical activity brings people together
Millions of people are expected to take part in the thousands of free activities being organised
Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston called the day a “golden opportunity” for the nation to begin a "physical activity revolution"
We all know how important fitness is to both our physical and mental wellbeing
– Nigel Huddleston
Credit: Official portrait of Nigel Huddleston by Chris McAndrew is licensed under CC BY 3.0: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Sports Minister, Nigel Huddleston, has joined gym-goers this morning to kick-off the annual National Fitness Day, with thousands of free activities taking place across the UK.

The theme for this year’s event is ‘Fitness Unites Us’, focusing on the ways that physical activity brings people together, no matter what their age, ability or background.

Last year (2020), a total of 19.1 million people were inspired to be physically active on the day, despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic.

Huddleston – who was joined by Team GB’s gold-winning diver Matty Lee and ukactive chair Tanni Grey-Thompson at Jubilee Hall Gym in Covent Garden – called the day a “golden opportunity” for the nation to begin a physical activity revolution.

“We all know how important fitness is to both our physical and mental wellbeing," he said.

"That's why the government prioritised it throughout the lockdown, provided an unprecedented £1bn of financial support to support the sport and leisure sector and has placed it at the heart of its Coronavirus recovery plan.

"The Chief Medical Officer's guidance is clear – children should aim for 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and adults two-and-a-half hours a week."

The National Fitness Day comes as a new poll from industry body ukactive and Savanta ComRes found that less than a third (27 per cent) of UK adults say they are as physically fit as they would like to be.

The event is organised by ukactive, which this week also set out how memberships of gyms, swimming pools and leisure centres could grow by more than five million new members by 2030 – if the government offers the right support for the sector.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, chair of ukactive, said: “National Fitness Day is one of my favourite days of the year because you see so many smiling faces as people come together and enjoy being active, especially if it’s an activity they have just discovered.

“It’s been such a challenging time throughout the pandemic but it has also shown us how essential daily physical activity is for our physical and mental health and resilience.

“As well as being fun, sport and physical activity is the miracle pill that can alleviate many conditions – helping to reduce the burden on our NHS – and it also unites us, bridging divisions and binding communities together.

“We must seize this moment to get our nation moving more and we want to make sure that more people can experience the benefits of being more active in their daily lives.”

Millions of people will take part in today's free fitness activities / ukactive
Nigel Huddleston  National Fitness Day  ukactive 
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