Monday, 16 October 2017

Do as I say, not as I do?

The last couple of frantic weeks have involved some further great moments in the journey of developing our social enterprise, Sporting Memories Network CIC. Trips to Cardiff, London & Edinburgh, a lecture to the FIFA Masters at De Montfort, team meetings, staff supervision sessions, countless Skype and conference calls and hours at the computer finalising project plans and media releases. All part and parcel of being a director of a social enterprise striving to demonstrate impact and achieve the growth all involved expect to see. Friday saw another long car journey on our increasingly clogged motorways, this time going across the Pennines to Media City, Salford, for an early morning recording with BBC 5 Live about the news of the funding we have secured from Sport England (listen in to the feature here)

The announcement was in relation to Sport England's Active Ageing Fund. We've secured an investment of almost £500,000 over three years to test out approaches to get people over 55 more active. At present 25.7% of the population of England are classed as inactive; not managing 30 minutes of moderate activity. 5.6 million over 55's are in that category and those percentages rise significantly with age. Add in a long term condition such as dementia, social isolation and a lack of confidence.....well in one county alone we surveyed our group members, all of whom were male and all were living with a diagnosis of dementia. 84% told us they undertook no physical activity until they joined their local sporting memories group. They now do at least 30 minutes per week, as per the minimum target set by Sport England.

Which leads me on to the real reason for revisiting a much neglected blog. The challenge of running a social enterprise AND not neglecting physical activity! It was when we learned that of the 725 orgs that applied to the fund, we had made it to the shortlist of 46 who were invited to present their ideas in depth to Sport England, I reflected back on how much exercise I was regularly taking. Other than always walking (briskly) wherever I go when in London for meetings (I hate the Tube and love seeing the sights!), my own regime was in danger of not hitting Sport England's minimum requirements for our group members.

I'd slipped into working seven days a week (not a sob story, I love the work) often late into the night. There was no time for exercise. I decided it wouldn't be right to stand in front of a panel talking about physical activity if I didn't even meet their minimum levels myself! I'd tried a few things previously, running was a bit of a disaster, a lack of Vitamin D (of course!) and long limbs led to knee problems & I'd been warned off anything that increased impact on them. Cycling was pleasant enough, well I do live in Yorkshire, home of cycling, but I needed something with a competitive edge to it too. Three months ago I took up golf again for the first time in over 15 years. Taking advantage of twighlight offers of reduced green fees, I found I could enjoy the fresh air and exercise whilst clearing the mind for a while too. Having been a caddie on the European Tour many years ago, I naturally carry my golf bag, adding to the cardio work out of walking briskly between shots. Since taking it up again, I've already begun to see and feel the benefits, of mind and body.

Now winter is approaching, I've put a plan in place to still play the occasional round when time permits and the weather is good, but have now put exercise equipment in the office, to keep exercising and to be ready for the new season next spring in tip top physical condition. Tonight was the first session. Only 10k's on the spinning bike up a few hills, it wasn't exactly easy, but boy did I feel better for it afterwards!

I'd love to hear how you manage to balance a busy life with keeping fit and active. Add any tips or hints below




  1. Well said Tony! As, like you, the founder of a social enterprise, I find it incredibly challenging to carve out time for exercise. And choosing an energetic activity over the sofa and a glass of wine when you do have a moment spare requires real motivation! I've found a couple of ways to keep me on track. Routine is one. I am booked into a couple of fitness classes in my local gym every week and although there are times when other commitments prevent me going, having it in the diary as a regular event makes it easier to just do it.
    The other one is my Fitbit. There's a simple pleasure to be gained from reaching various goals, and I like the reminder to get up from my desk if I've been static for the past hour.
    I'm busier than I've ever been, but I'm probably more fit now than I was 10 years ago, and feel much better for it!

    1. Well done Zoe! I've not quite figured out how to keep a routine when not at home as the hotels I stay in definitely don't have gyms!

      I did find Strava great for motivating when cycling as each ride just had to get at least one persona best. I'd not thought of a Fitbit, that inactivity reminder sounds very useful indeed. Maybe I'll have to write a letter to Santa.....

  2. Suddenly realised I could add each session manually on Strava so now have a record of distance covered etc but also seeing my progress on time taken to cover 10km's. Now moving on to see how many K's I can cover in 20 minutes on a set resistance level.