Andy Burnham at Active Uprising

Yesterday Sue and Nasima attended ukactive’s Active Uprising in Manchester, an industry conference hosted which brings together leaders in health, fitness, sport, technology and government to promote and drive increased physical activity across the country.

It was a day of many insights and highlights, most notably the key note speech by Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham.

In his relaxed, no cue sheet address to a packed house, he highlighted a few of the key initiatives taking place in Manchester that, if adopted across the country, could have a massive impact on the health of the nation.

“We want to put physical activity at the heart of everything we do. We see it as the most cost-effective way of dealing with some of biggest challenges we face – obesity, traffic congestion, air quality, mental health.”

One simple change he is about to embrace is to change the dress code for his staff and he urged other large organisations and businesses to follow suit, to lead from the top in encouraging their staff to get moving:

“To set the right culture and the right tone, as mayor I’ve introduced a new dress code in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. I’m saying that it’s perfectly acceptable for people to come to work in their trainers, and if I walk past people with trainers on, I’ll be pleased rather than frowning at them.

“We need a culture change in the workplace - if we wear trainers to work, we will be more active. It will encourage people to move more on their commute to and from work and on their breaks.”

Mr Burnham also strongly advocated The Daily Mile, the school initiative which sees primary school children running a mile every day as part of the school day. “Let’s make physical activity start at the very start”

Earlier this year The Daily Mile founder, Elaine Wyllie and Mr Burnham announced Manchester’s commitment to becoming the world’s first Daily Mile city-region. “I am a big believer in physical activity because it has a positive impact on both physical and mental health, which is exactly what The Daily Mile sets out to achieve. I want to give young people the best active start in life.” said Mr Burnham.

Mr Burnham left us all a very clear message - simple solutions work. Move more, sit less.

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