The Scottish Government has launched a major initiative to encourage the country’s 5 million inhabitants to lead healthier, more active lifestyles. Called ‘Active Nation’, the campaign seeks to encourage Scots to draw inspiration from the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which are being hosted in Glasgow, to motivate them “to increase their physical activity and live longer healthier lives.”
A new website, www.ouractivenation.co.uk, allows people to set Personal Activity Goals which it is hoped will enable them to incorporate physical activity – whether walking, cycling, running or something else – as part of their daily routines. That could include, for example, committing to commute to work by bike, or to start riding a certain number of miles each week.
At the same time, the website contains links for people wishing to volunteer to help out on fitness-related activities, whether that be helping marshal events such as bike rides and fun runs, or becoming a Sustrans ranger to help look after the National Cycle Network.
At yesterday’s launch in Glasgow, Scottish Government Minister for Public Health Shona Robison said: "Active Nation is about getting active, having fun and feeling good. It aims to energise and motivate all Scots to increase their physical activity in the run up to the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and beyond. That will be a games legacy Scotland can be proud of.”
She continued: "For too long Scotland has been seen as the 'sick man of Europe'. Our nation's health is improving but not quickly enough, especially in our most deprived communities.
"As part of our legacy, Active Nation will encourage people to increase their activity levels - recognising that making even a small change can make a difference to their lives.
"This together with our recently launched obesity strategy and our radical plans to tackle alcohol misuse, further reduce smoking levels and encourage healthy diet demonstrates our determination to get to grips with these most pressing of issues," Ms Robison concluded.
A number of partners from both the public and private sectors will be helping deliver the Active Nation initiative, with a number of events carrying its branding in the pipeline.
Improving the nation’s health in the long term is one of the key aims of Scotland’s games legacy plan, launched last year, which set forth how the Scottish Government intends to build a lasting legac not only from Glasgow 2014 but also from other major events such as London 2012 and the 2014 Ryder Cup, which is being held at Gleneagles in Perthshire.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.