Anyone else feel like they’ve been in a bit of a slump so far in 2021? I’ll admit, I had what is best described as the Mother Of All Januarys this year. Motivation and positivity were at a low tide. Motivation to plan for the coming year, motivation to move and be active, motivation to clean my house… nil.

It seems like I haven’t been the only one, though.

In the Live and Move team we’ve been discussing ‘activity levels in the local population’. Sounds a bit dry, I’ll admit, but what it means becomes something quite important.

There’s a problem…

The report from Sport England has landed on our virtual desks. Statistically, the whole nation has become far less active throughout this pandemic than it was before. This has been seen particularly in the COVID vulnerable groups; they’ve found it more difficult to keep active while staying safe at home.

The percentage drop in activity levels in Exeter specifically is pretty significant, and almost a year on from the start of this COVID restricted world, we should be seriously concerned about deteriorations in poor physical and mental health. Cranbrook activity levels have remained pretty stable, however. We’re keen to hear from Cranbrook people why they think this is!

Why Move More?

Our vision at Live and Move is to make Exeter and Cranbrook the most active areas in the country. There are a few reasons for this.

Reason One: moving makes life better for us
The most important good reason to get into the habit of moving more, the reason we really care about, is that it’s proven that when we move more on a daily basis, it increases our health and wellbeing by rather a lot – if we can keep the habit up.

We don’t even need to move much more than we do now, it has to fit with our body and the way we live. To start, we just need to consciously do something that raises our heart and breath rates for a few more minutes a day. This becoming aware of our heart and breath rate creates a great barometer because it automatically adjusts to every individual person.

If walking up the stairs get you a bit out of breath, you could try doing that once or twice more than you ‘need’ to. If you usually go for an hour long walk in the park, maybe pick two landmarks and power walk the stretch between them. If you’re a professional athlete – well, do what your coach says. I ain’t no expert, here. Likewise, if you have medical challenges, check with a professional to find out the best way to start increasing your daily moves.

Reason Two: moving is good for the environment
There are so many connections between a ‘more active population’ and stuff working better in the places we live. As one example, people who are comfortable and capable of walking or cycling are more likely to leave the car at home for shorter trips. This reduces congestion (Exeter is a pretty congested city at rush hour, though commuting is changing…) and reduces carbon emissions. That bit is great because, though we can be proud of the fact that Exeter was early to declare a climate emergency and commit to a carbon neutral plan, we still need to take action to make it happen! Plus, the wildlife prefers walkers to exhaust fumes.

Reason Three: well…
It’s always nice to be on the top of the leader board, right? The Chiefs have shown us in recent years that leading the way is always within our grasp!

So what are we going to do about it?

We’ve got a few ideas, and we’re working hard across Exeter and Cranbrook – check our Active Projects on our website – but as a small team we know full well that we don’t know everything.

Can you help us out? What would motivate and, just as important, support you to move more in ways that work in your life? If you have an idea, or a story about what you find challenging about getting moving, get in touch on our social media or by emailing hello@liveandmove.co.uk.

We don’t see our job as motivating people to be more active by just telling them to. Our job is to listen and to learn. Will you tell us your story?

Thank you to Maresa, Community Physical Activity Organiser for West Exeter, for the photo of her daughter Tala out on one of their daily walks.