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Wicklow men over 45 are being encouraged to get active

Wicklow men over 45 are being encouraged to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week for the month of November.

The “Your Personal Best Month” is aimed at getting men over 45 more physically active as studies have shown that men of this age, particularly those from disadvantaged communities, are amongst those least likely to be active. As a result, they suffer from worse health, mental and physical, and are more likely to die younger, than the rest of the population

Speaking about the project, Cllr Pat Kennedy, Cathaoirleach, Wicklow County Council said: “As Cathaoirleach, I know the importance of keeping active at all times, but especially during the current COVID pandemic, and I want to add my voice to encourage everyone to engage in as many outdoor activities during the month of November, remembering at all times to stay within the 5k limit and observe social distancing.”

‘Your Personal Best Month” is encouraging men to stop making excuses and to engage in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week.  It will run throughout the month of November.

The campaign is also being supported by the nationwide network of Local Sport Partnerships, who will provide practical support on the ground.

Also involved are various sporting National Governing Bodies such as Cycling Ireland, Athletics Ireland, Get Ireland Walking and Swim Ireland, who will provide information, advice and programmes for men who want to become more active with resources available at www.sportireland.ie/.

Sport Ireland’s Irish Sports Monitor 2019 revealed that only one-in-four men aged 45-54 meet the World Health Organisation’s recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week. On average, men of this age are physically active for just 87 minutes per week or 12 minutes per day, with one in six not participating in any sport or exercise.

Socio-economic standing also influences activity levels: those with the highest education and income are twice as likely to play sports than those from the poorest backgrounds who, in turn, are the most likely to lead sedentary lives with 16 per cent claiming to take no form of exercise.

Sport Ireland is the authority tasked with the development of sport in Ireland and this includes participation in sport and physical activity. “Your Personal Best Month” is aimed squarely at a group in society that has consistently been amongst those least likely to enjoy the benefits of participating in sport and physical activity, with funding for the project coming from the Dormant Accounts Fund.

Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said: “We are delighted to launch ‘Your Personal Best Month’ which will help to shine a light on the need for men over the age of 45 to get more physically active and engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week.”

He added: “People can exercise and be physically active during Level 5 restrictions, and we would encourage everyone to continue to do so for their own wellbeing, but we also ask that people respect the guidelines and exercise within 5km of their home and if they are exercising with others to maintain social distancing of 2m as it’s important that we all play our part in keeping everyone safe.”

Speaking at the project launch, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport, Jack Chambers TD, said:  “The positive role that sport and physical activity play in our health and physical wellbeing as a nation should never be underestimated.  ‘Your Personal Best Month’ will have a positive impact on a group that are consistently under-represented when it comes to participation in sport and physical activity The current pandemic has highlighted the need more than ever for people to care for themselves and sport and physical activity are a brilliant outlet for many to do so.”

Also present at the launch were Professor Niall Moyna, Head of the School of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University, along with actor and broadcaster Simon Delaney and former Ireland rugby international John Hayes who are acting as  campaign ambassadors.

Professor Niall Moyna of DCU added: “Health related problems due to lack of physical activity continue to rise in Ireland and it’s a major concern. We know that people who come from lower socio-economic backgrounds are at much higher risk of developing these health problems, and education and access to employment all play their part – people underestimate the importance of those determinants and how they impact on our health. I would stress to anyone though, that it’s never too late to reset. We want people to set realistic goals, not something that’s unsustainable. Just 30 minutes a day; 15 minutes from your front door and 15 minutes back, five days a week.”

Public Health Guidelines COVID-19 (Coronavirus):

We all have a responsibility to protect ourselves and those around us.  Exercise within 5 kilometres of home and distance yourself at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people. Avoid an area if it looks busy and remember to keep active in line with Government advice. The latest information, advice and guidelines regarding Covid-19 is available on Gov.ie.

For more information contact Denise in Wicklow Sports & Recreation Partnership on wicklowlsp@wicklowcoco.ie

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