Why is National Fitness Day So Important in 2022?

Today marks the 12th annual National Fitness Day in the UK. It is the most important day in the fitness calendar and encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to come together for a day full of fun fitness challenges to emphasise the importance of exercise on people’s physical and mental wellbeing. With every year that goes by, more and more personal trainers, sports teachers, fitness gurus, and industry leaders signup to host events on the day to get as many people as possible moving.

National Fitness Day has gone from strength to strength, with a record-breaking 22 million people participating in 2021.

Why was National Fitness Day founded?

We know that exercise has a positive impact not only on our physical health, but also on our mental and social wellbeing. Taking part in sports games and activities is also a great way of building confidence and bettering communities through friendly competition.

Our lives here in the UK are becoming busier and busier by the year, with work, school, extracurricular activities, and personal obligations leaving a lot of us feeling like we do not have enough time to slot in some exercise into our schedules.

Working out can seem daunting to many, but National Fitness Day encourages people to recognise that even small changes can make all the difference in our lives. Things like walking instead of taking the bus or driving when travelling short distances can have a positive and cumulative impact on your overall wellbeing.

The primary objective of National Fitness Day is to change people’s attitudes toward exercise and their bodies and to highlight the role that physical activity plays in leading a longer and healthier lifestyle.

What activities can you take part in this year for National Fitness Day?

The possibilities are endless!

Any activities related to exercise, fitness, and healthy eating are firmly in the spirit of National Fitness Day. In previous years, schools, families, and colleagues have taken part in dance-offs, yoga classes, walks, HIIT workout sessions, and even plank-offs.

This year, the campaign’s 10@10 challenge will be returning. The premise of 10@10 is simple and accessible to everyone: to do 10 minutes of physical activity at 10am. In 2019 alone, over a million children got up and moving as hundreds of schools and families took part in the 10@10 challenge.

Why is getting children involved in National Fitness Day important?

National Fitness Day is a brilliant opportunity to teach children about exercise and fitness in a positive and social way. If we show kids how to enjoy sports and exercise from a young age, the more likely we are to encourage them to carry good habits into adulthood.

Changing the way we talk about exercise around children is the first step. If children grow up hearing that exercise is a horrible chore or a necessary evil, they will grow up with those negative associations. This may make children less likely to join a sports club or want to take part in PE.

Motivation and positive reinforcement from parents, teachers, and friends are crucial in fostering an interest in fitness from a young age. It is good to instil in children the idea that moderation, healthy living, fitness, and mental wellbeing are more important than exercise.

Why is National Fitness Day more important than ever this year?

It is easy to feel stressed or anxious about the events at home and abroad. Since 2020, National Fitness Day has taken place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Never before has the health of the country been at the forefront of conversation. It not only served as a reminder, but also emphasised the importance of staying fit and active.

While some people used the pandemic as an opportunity to take up activities such as going on daily walks or running, evidence shows that social and health inequalities have largely increased since the first UK lockdown. This included a widening gap in physical activity levels in the UK. This was caused, in part, by the closure of publicly subsidised leisure centres, sports clubs, as well as schools.

For this reason, this year’s theme is ‘fitness unites us all.’ The day will stress the importance of fitness on our physical and mental wellbeing, especially in light of the severe challenges the UK is facing due to the cost of living crisis.

National Fitness Day seeks to emphasise the critical importance of public leisure and recreation facilities in the UK that will suffer greatly as a result of the astronomical energy costs, which are expected to rise by up to 240% for the sector in 2023.

It is predicted that in the next 12 months, almost all fitness and leisure facilities will need to raise their costs due to a lack of funding, and more than half of all public and private facilities will be forced to close part or all of their operations.

This will make fitness services even more inaccessible than they already are to the vast majority of the UK population, which would ultimately be devastating to people’s physical and mental health, social lives, and community spirit.

Image by Sven Mieke