As the ‘newbie’ at Zephyr, as well as new to the sports and fitness sector, I was asked to attend the ukactive National summit last week in London, with Chloë, our Business Manager.

This was a great opportunity to meet and mingle with the great and the good of the industry, get to grips with new technologies and find out about what key issues face the sector along with ideas about how we can solve them.

My knowledge of sports and fitness before the Summit was basic, I mean I know about sports and the importance of staying active in life of course, but I wanted to understand the more detailed data as well the opinions of key figures.

Img 0029Keynote & first sessions

The first fact that really resonated with me was:

“Physical inactivity cost the UK £20billion per year, resulting in 37,000 premature deaths.” – Steven Ward, Executive Director, ukactive.

This lead into an address by Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson reviewing progress since ukactive launched their Blueprint in 2015 and how, despite the industry growing in value by £1 billion over the last year, the UK is known as the “Lazy man of Europe” and what needs to be delivered so society can take responsibility for their own health. Astonishingly, today’s children are the least active generation we’ve ever experienced and by 2020 one in every three of the population will fail to achieve thirty minutes of physical activity each week.

A call for the introduction of ‘wellness hubs’ preceded an inspiring discussion with. Professor Sir Muir Gray, CBE and Dr Chris Van Tulleken. They discussed the use of drugs in the health sector and whether it really is necessary to treat each and everything thing with a series of pills when there is evidence to suggest that physical activity could be used as a cure or even, in some cases, prevention for people with various illnesses and ailments.

Children and young people.

After a brief break we joined a really interesting discussion about to the need to get young people (aged 5 -18) more active with the Chief Executives of StreetGames, Youth Sport Trust, Sported and Professor Russell Viner from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. According to the Childhood obesity report – “ Nearly a third of children aged between 2-15 are overweight or obese” which has long-term implications. Amongst the discussions were around how we can help parents, carers, and school to encourage play and fun in sport (particularly in school), and building a long-term strategy moving forward.

After a very nice lunch there was talks by Chief Executives of NHS England and Sport England, discussing the prevention agenda for the NHS, and Sport England’s new strategy. This was followed by a very inspirational talk between the two greatest British Paralympians of all time Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dame Sarah Storey. They discussed achievements, managing the balance of life and training as well as how Olympians and Paraolymians can leave a legacy going forward to inspire young people.

The National Summit was a really valuable event to attend for Zephyr and myself. I feel the information I gained and the time out of the office has given us the space to think about how design currently does and how it can play a role in taking strategies forward, as well as promoting and supporting organisations with key issues and solutions to the general public.

Reference & Key reads

ukactive Blueprint

Child obesity plan

Physical Activity for children and young people (5 – 18 Years)

The Work, Health and Disability Green Paper

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