British Politicians Kick Off Parliamentary Drill Challenge, Inspired by US Congress | Sports management

British Politicians Kick Off Parliamentary Drill Challenge, Inspired by US Congress |  Sports management

By Frances Marcellin 07 Nov 2022

(left to right) Alun Cairns MP, Kim Leadbeater MP, Wendy Chamberlain MP, Nick Smith MP and UK Active CEO Huw Edwards / United Kingdom Active

Politicians in the UK are taking part in a physical activity challenge hosted by UK Active and Myzone. The friendly competition is intended to raise awareness among MPs of the importance of physical activity – for mental and physical health as well as productivity at work – and to spread this message more widely to the general public.

A similar initiative hosted by Myzone and the Physical Activity Alliance took place earlier this year in May, where more than 500 members of Congress (which includes 100 senators and 435 representatives) in Washington DC completed their second challenge annual. As with the UK initiative, activity was measured with the Myzone MZ-Switch heart rate monitor. The best individual scorer was Marshall Yates of Rep. Mo Brooks’ office who gained 20,710 deputies and Sen. Richard Burr’s office had the most staff attending, with 42 employees amassing deputies in the standings.

Dave Wright, CEO of Myzone Group, said: “The UK challenge follows the Congressional Physical Activity Challenge in the US earlier this year which had more than 500 participants. It would be wonderful if our leaders and their teams in Westminster also set a good example.’

The British event has been endorsed by many MPs, including Kim Leadbeater MP, who is a qualified personal trainer, and Crossbench Peer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, who has competed in five Paralympic Games, winning 11 gold medals, 4 d silver and a bronze.

“I am very proud to be an ambassador for the Parliamentary Physical Activity Challenge,” said Leadbeater. “It is a fantastic opportunity to shed light on the importance of physical activity, not just for the physical and mental well-being of those of us in parliament – ​​important as that is – but also within the communities we represent.

“This challenge will enable all MPs and their teams, regardless of their current activity levels, to demonstrate how physical activity can support all of us in our work. I’m encouraging as many colleagues as possible to get involved with their own health and promote wellbeing across the country.”

“Physical activity is vital to our physical, mental and social well-being, something the pandemic has served to highlight,” said Huw Edwards, CEO of UK Active. “Today many of us face increasing pressure at home and work, so it’s more important than ever to put our health first and keep active.

“Initiatives like this physical activity challenge can play an important role in helping influence the general public and highlight the importance of activity as an essential part of daily life for the entire nation.

“Recognizing that working at Westminster can be challenging, we hope this challenge provides an opportunity for MPs and their staff to consider their levels of physical activity, as well as its importance to the constituents they serve.”

Individuals and parliamentary teams will be able to monitor their progress via a leaderboard which ranks participants based on the average score of MEPs. Ultimately, UK Active will provide a final leaderboard showing those with the highest scores.

Each participant will use an MZ-Switch heart rate monitor to measure effort levels which are converted into a points system known as Myzone Effort points (MEP). These are earned by training in your target heart rate zone – the more effort you put in, the more MEPs are earned.

Using this system, MPs and their teams can judge whether they are meeting World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for physical activity, which, in its latest Global Status Report on Physical Activity 2022, recommends 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.

Levels of physical inactivity also negatively impact health services. WHO has also revealed that nearly 500 million people will develop a preventable non-communicable disease (NCD), at a cost of US$300 billion (£270 billion), if governments do not act urgently to reduce the number of inactive citizens.

Currently, almost a third (27%) of people in England are classified as inactive (less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week) with growing inequality in society. Figures show that less affluent groups have much lower activity levels and, overall, only 61% are classified as active (at least 150 minutes of activity per week).

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