National Fitness Day is back in force this year. Recreation and fitness facilities across the country are opening their doors to the public with open days, lessons of all kinds, and free giveaways next Thursday.
This day aims to promote the benefits of physical activity, while showcasing the range of facilities, sports and options available across the country for people to choose from. National Fitness Day led by Ireland Active and supported by Sport Ireland, Healthy Ireland and the European Commission.
Ireland Active is the National Association of the Recreation, Health and Fitness Industry and represents more than 350 publicly and privately owned leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, fitness education providers, and recreational facilities across the country. They have been instrumental in the safe return of gyms after the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Now, Ireland Active is working tirelessly to pressure the government to tackle the cost of the energy crisis wreaking havoc on the Irish entertainment industry.
The bottom line is that without financial support in the upcoming budget, people face losing the fitness and swimming facilities on which they depend for their health and well-being while children lose out on learning to swim.
Over 60 recreation centers and gyms for Ireland members will participate in the National Fitness Day events. Schools will participate in the “Take on the Teacher” challenge, where students face teachers in daily sports in hopes of winning fitness equipment in their classrooms.
Offices and workplaces will also offer free yoga and aerobics classes as a way to energize employees while incorporating more physical activity into the workday.
Regular exercise has a number of beneficial factors, from creating a healthy mind and body to a better quality of life. However, many of us find it difficult to get in shape. It becomes a challenge, and it shouldn’t – which is why we think a day like this is so important.
With so many free events available on the day, it’s a great opportunity for those who might not be regular gym goers to get moving and exercise.
David Nolan, National Fitness Day ambassador and sports scientist, writes: “Being physically active and participating in exercise has many benefits for your physical and mental health.
“While you may be aware of the physical benefits of improving physical fitness, decreasing the risk of lifestyle-related diseases and achieving a healthy weight, you may not be so straightforward with the mental health benefits.
“Those who exercise regularly have, on average, better moods, reduced anxiety, improved mental function and a lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.”
National Fitness Day for all demographics, whether old or young, gym fanatics or newcomers. For this reason, Ireland Active partners with ExWell Medical, which provides medically supervised exercise as a means of rehabilitation and disease prevention.
As Nolan explains, “Exercise is especially important as you age, especially strength-based exercises because they strengthen your bones and muscles. This allows you to move better, maintain your independence and quality of life as you age. Strength exercises also reduce the risk of falls and fractures. Which we all know can have a huge impact on your health.
“No matter your age or ability, there is a form of exercise that you can reap the benefits from. Find qualified professionals who will be more than happy to help you get started. Whether it is hiking, swimming or squatting, you won’t regret getting started.”
Our National Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that children and adolescents (2-18 years old) do at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day, while adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. . However, research has shown that only 13 percent of children and 46 percent of adults meet these guidelines.
Additionally, there is still a significant gender gap in levels of physical activity, with 54 percent of men versus only 38 percent of women adhering to the guidelines.
So, National Fitness Day is a nationwide effort to break down these barriers and offer free classes along with a welcoming and enjoyable experience for gym goers. How you celebrate National Fitness Day is entirely up to you. However, there is no shortage of events taking place across the country.
Carl Dunn, CEO of Ireland Active, sums it up well when he said: “At Ireland Active we are passionate about developing a healthier and fitter Ireland. This year’s National Fitness Day will take place as part of European Sports Week 2022 and we are particularly proud that we will play our part in what will be A great week of activities.
“After what has been a difficult year for our industry, we are really looking forward to everyone participating in that day and taking advantage of the excellent facilities on offer across the country.”
If you would like to participate, you can find a map of all activities in Ireland, along with registration details at nationalfitnesday.ie.
Dyer Hancock works with Ireland Active
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