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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.