Merton Council’s public health team is calling on residents and business to take part in a brand new health initiative that will see participants take a 250,000 mile virtual journey from Merton to the moon.
Merton on the Move launched at Mitcham Carnival this weekend and encourages people of all ages to get active by walking, jogging, running or cycling. The journeys taken are added to the Merton on the Move website or free mobile phone app and contribute to the overall target of reaching the moon.
The initiative comes after Public Health England launched ‘Everybody active, every day’, an evidence-based approach to improve the nation’s health through everyday activity. This shows that over one in four women and one in five men do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week, making them ‘inactive’ and that physical inactivity is the fourth largest cause of disease and disability in the UK.
Individuals can register in teams of up to five members with friends, family or colleagues. Once registered, teams will be able to log their journeys and earn virtual badges, set personal goals or organise group activities. There will also be several active challenges throughout the year for an added bit of healthy competition. Teams can go for leader board glory if they choose and there will be entry into prize draws for teams that participate.
The council will also be looking for local businesses to pledge a certain amount of miles to help achieve its target. So far Merton’s Clinical Commissioning Group, Capital Training Group and the Merton Chamber of Commerce have signed up.
Merton’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, said: “Merton on the Move is a great way for all residents to keep active. You don’t have to be sporty to take part. Even a small walk around your area will help improve your health and help us to reach Merton’s goal of travelling to the moon, the small steps make a big difference.”
Dr Andrew Murray, Clinical Chair, NHS Merton CCG said: “Merton on the Move can help local residents make positive changes to their daily lifestyles. As a regular cyclist, I am signing up to this challenge and will be encouraging my patients and colleagues to do the same. The more people taking part, the bigger the difference it will make to the health of people in the borough.”
Dr Yvonne Doyle, London regional director for Public Health England, said: “Merton on the Move is a great initiative and I am delighted that the people of Merton will be setting their sights as high as the moon with their target for getting more physically active.
“Taking part in physical activity each day keeps your heart healthy, reduces your risk of serious illness and strengthens muscles and bones. It can also cheer us up, help children learn better and support each of us to have a balanced and healthy life.
“There is something simple we can do: get everybody active every day, and this is what Merton on the Move aims to achieve.”
For more information, visit merton.yomp.co