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‘Inspiration can come to us at any time and from many sources.’

We found inspiration in the form of 12-year-old Theo Tolley when he and his family came along to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’ at our Medway Family Mile event in August. This was one of our most successful summer events, drawing hundreds of people from across the community to come along and discover what The Family Mile is all about.

 

 

Through The Family Mile, we are committed to inspiring families to come together and take that first step towards a happier and healthier life, removing any barriers that stand in their way. However, it is the examples of role models like Theo and his family that fuel our ability to achieve this and showcase our vision as a reality.

From Strood in Medway, Theo is the third of six children and attends Bradfields Academy in Chatham. Born premature at just 25 weeks, and with a rare limb abnormality known as ‘split hand and foot syndrome’, Theo undeniably had a challenging start to life. Not only this, but just two years ago he was also diagnosed as deaf. Despite the numerous challenges that Theo has been faced with, at our Family Mile event we simply saw a young boy that loves being active, refusing to let any of these obstacles hold him back. Theo’s Mother Sherri told us that his disability ‘doesn’t faze him’, and this was more than clear for everyone to see at our event. Theo’s love for being active also spills into his passion for football, and he has long been a big Arsenal FC fan.

Just in the same way that football unites families and communities, it was wonderful to see the Tolley family coming together to do ‘Their Mile’ and enjoy being active in a way that suited the whole family. Exercising as a family is incredibly beneficial for family bonding, developing teamwork, improving children’s mental health, and encouraging good habits, however we can often forget to make the time. By coming together to do just fifteen minutes of physical activity, (the time it takes to walk a mile), the difference in the children’s ages, abilities, and interests all dissolve, and every family member can reap the benefits of The Family Mile.

Whilst we strive to deliver an initiative that is accessible and inclusive to everyone, we recognise that for some people, overcoming these barriers and being active is not that simple. Sometimes, words can only go so far in encouraging people to take that first step, and that is why having role models like Theo and his family is so important in empowering families. They demonstrate how a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude can break down any barriers to physical activity, and they remind us exactly why The Family Mile was created in the first place.

We are delighted to now be ‘putting them in purple’ and welcoming the Tolley family as Brand Ambassadors for The Family Mile. Theo is an incredible individual who has inspired us all here at The Mason Foundation, and who we are sure will continue to inspire many others to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way.’

If you would like to find out more about The Family Mile or if would like to join our team of Ambassadors, please contact us on 0300 30 31 030 or email us at info@themasonmile.com.

We are excited to welcome Quinn Stansfield to The Mason Mile team as our Mini Ambassador! Aged only 3, Quinn has a remarkable story to tell that has inspired many people across the country – including all of us here at The Mason Foundation.

We discovered Quinn’s story after reading about her ‘30 Miles My Way’ challenge back in April. This campaign was created by the Manchester Foundation Trust Charity to help raise vital funds for hospitals across Greater Manchester. The goal was to get people out in the fresh air and clock up 30 miles over April, (the average amount of miles NHS nurses walk in a week) – any way they liked! This challenge would be a big task for any three-year-old, but even more so for Quinn, who was born with a rare defect which means she has to wear a prosthetic leg for walking. Quinn’s story immediately resonated with us; as did the message behind the campaign that mirrors our own core ethos, ‘Your Mile, Your Way’!

Quinn’s Mum, Natasha Thomas, signed their family up for the challenge to help build Quinn’s confidence with walking and to raise money for The Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. The hospital means a lot to the Burnley based family, as not only is Quinn a current outpatient there but Natasha was also treated at the same hospital between the ages of 4 – 13 for leukaemia. Their initial target was £300 but Quinn’s story soon warmed the hearts of many – so much so that they quickly smashed their target and have now raised an astounding £5,148!

Natasha said that prior to the ‘30 Miles My Way Challenge’, ‘Quinn would struggle with her walking and often wanted to be carried instead’. However, since getting into the habit of doing their daily one-mile walks, Quinn is not only ‘much more confident walking’, but she now enjoys their regular walks and is getting ‘stronger and stronger everyday’.

There is so much we can all learn from this determined three-year-old and we are delighted to be ‘putting Quinn in purple’ as our new Mini Ambassador! Even though they have completed their 30-day challenge, Quinn is continuing to inspire people every day and we believe that she will be a wonderful role model for our Miler Community.

Our Founder Stephen Mason, created The Mason Mile so that people could do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’, regardless of ability or disability and without any competition, pressure, or stigma. He wanted to empower people to take that important first step towards a healthier and happier life, removing any obstacles that might prevent them from living an active lifestyle. Quinn has embodied this – refusing to let her disability hold her back and proving to people far and wide that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

Natasha, James, and Quinn will be keeping up their regular family walks so that Quinn can continue to improve her walking, whilst encouraging others to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’ and reap the benefits of regular exercise – just like Quinn has. We are honoured to have their family on board and look forward to launching our Family Miles in the North-West very soon.

If you would like to donate to Quinn’s fundraiser, please click here. All money raised will be spent on treatment, research and care projects that benefit patients and their families when they visit the hospitals. You can also follow Quinn’s journey via socials on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

If you would like to find out more about The Family Mile or if would like to join our team of Ambassadors, please contact us on 0300 30 31 030 or email us at info@themasonmile.com.

We are excited to announce our new partnership with Sportside, ‘the connect and play’ app, helping people discover local activities based on their sporting interests! This innovative partnership will pilot in Maidstone over the next coming months now that our Family Miles are back up and running following lockdown restrictions.

Here at The Mason Foundation, we are passionate about empowering people to take that first step to physical activity. We recognise that for many, being active is not that simple. Whilst there are undoubtedly a myriad of sports and ways to participate in exercise, many people often feel that these are out of their reach. They worry that they will not be able to keep up or worry about what they will wear or who they will exercise with. The who, what and where often form invisible barriers that hinder people from taking part in physical activity.

Both The Mason Mile and Sportside recognise these factors, highlighting a natural synergy that attempts to break down these barriers and get people active. The Mason Mile achieves this by bridging the gap between inactivity and 15 minutes of light, regular exercise – providing a fun, safe environment for communities to just come along, without the need for any posh kit or equipment and do ‘Their Mile, Their Way.’ The Sportside app helps link the two seamlessly together. Sportside is a free platform designed with the purpose of connecting people where individuals can find their ‘sporting match’ by age, ability, and location. This tackles the issue of ‘who’, by guiding users to The Family Mile where they can exercise alongside others based on sporting interest and ability.

Excitingly, our very own Maidstone Ambassadors will be working at the heart of this partnership, taking on a dual role as both a Family Mile Ambassador and a Community Captain. The role of the Community Captains will be to regularly post about their Family Mile walks, helping to motivate and encourage other users to come along and take that first step to activity by walking with them!

But what happens after they have taken that first step?

Once community members have integrated ‘Their Mile’ into their lifestyle, many will likely find they have gained an appetite for more. Sportside therefore not only supports the who but they also accommodate the what. Our new partnership with Sportside offers that next natural step for individuals who may be looking to explore other sporting activities in their area.

It may be that our Milers would like to try a team sport, join a community club, or progress from walking a mile to jogging a mile and would like to find a jogging partner. They can then navigate the ‘one stop’ app to discover the best match for them in their community, with the help of our cross trained Ambassadors offering a referral to the next sporting step!

We are very much looking forward to piloting this partnership in Maidstone and working with Sportside to help improve the wellbeing of the Maidstone community. Covid-19 has brought into sharp focus the issues surrounding physical and mental health and the desperate need to act. Our partnership with Sportside has come at the perfect time to do so as lockdown restrictions ease and we approach the warmer, sunnier months! With our shared ethos of getting people more active, our combined forces are sure to put a spring back in people’s step and take action in addressing these incredibly important issues!

Following the Government’s announcement in March to incentivise exercise and take meaningful action against Britain’s obesity crisis; we wrote to the Prime Minister to express our support and offer Boris one of our very own Mason Mile jackets!

Our aim to ‘put Boris in purple’ derived from the Government’s obesity strategy, to which The Mason Foundation is so well aligned. We know Boris has had his own health struggles following his experience with COVID-19 last year, which subsequently fueled his decision to embark on his weight loss journey. This emphasises the importance of initiatives like The Mason Mile, which enable people from all walks of life to take their first step towards a more active, healthier and happier lifestyle.

We are delighted to have received a response from 10 Downing Street, celebrating the ongoing work The Mason Foundation is doing to empower people to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’.

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In addition, we would love to hear who you think should get a Mason Mile jacket! We’re on the lookout for individuals that embody the message of The Mason Mile and deserve to be ‘put in purple’. Let us know who you would like to nominate to be a Mason Mile Ambassador by emailing us at info@themasonmile.com.

March is known globally as Women’s History Month, a celebration deep rooted by the accomplishments and contributions of women throughout the years to our culture and society. March is sprinkled with holidays that pay homage to this, from International Women’s Day to Mother’s Day. Over these last few weeks, the nation has witnessed a cluster of momentous events that have cast both light and shade on the status of women’s equality. But now, as March draws to a close, we wanted to end the month on a high note by celebrating one of Britain’s most inspirational female athletes – Donna Fraser.

 

Donna Fraser is a 4 times GB Olympian and former 400m sprinter from Croydon. Since reluctantly retiring from Athletics in 2009 due to a Breast Cancer diagnosis, Donna has gone on to become the UK Athletics’ first Equality, Diversity and Engagement Lead, working to champion ethnically diverse communities and inclusivity at all levels of sport.

 

Donna is an incredibly inspiring woman, demonstrating sheer determination not just on the athletics track but across all areas of her life. Today, Donna is a Breast Cancer Now Ambassador, striving to raise awareness and support others going through a similar experience. For International Women’s Day this year, the theme was #ChoosetoChallenge. Donna has embodied this theme her whole life, choosing to accept challenge after challenge; whether that be as an Olympic athlete, battling Breast Cancer, or fighting to gain a voice for under-represented groups!

 

 

We asked Donna a few questions to find out how her experiences have shaped her to become the inspirational woman she is today!

Can you tell us a bit about your role as the Equality, Diversity, and Engagement Lead at British Athletics and how important this is to you?

The role involves driving our ED&I agenda within our sport, working closely with the Home Country Leads to ensure our sport strives to be inclusive in everything we do.

 

Being active has been a big part of your life ever since you were young. For those who haven’t been active for most of their life or haven’t been encouraged to do so, what advice would you give them to take that first step to activity?

Start small – even if it is walking to the end of the road and back or a short stretching exercise class which you can do in the comfort of your own home. Find something that works for you and that you enjoy.

 

If your teachers had not recognised your talent of running, would this have been something you would have pursued anyway?

That’s a great question – my parents wouldn’t have known how to contact my local athletics club, so I probably would have started much later if at all.

 

How did you believe in yourself?

Having positive people around me breeds self-belief and positivity.

 

After beating Breast Cancer in 2009, did this change your outlook on life at all and how did your passion for sport help you through?

Most definitely, sometimes we need to go through challenging times to help us realise how strong we are.  In my case, I quickly realised that life is too short and can be taken away from us at any time, so seize the moment and enjoy it while I can.

 

As we start to come out of lockdown and head back towards normality, do you think people’s attitude towards physical exercise and its benefits for our mental health will have changed?

I really hope so!  This has been a lesson learned for all of us.  I have seen so many people in my local park just walking, more than I would in the summer and I hope people will continue with that and see the benefits of getting out and about.

 

After already achieving so much, what do you aspire to next?

I still have life in me. I am taking every day as it comes at the moment, BUT I just aim to be the best version of me, both as a person and in my working career – be a better person than I was yesterday.  I can never stop learning, so will continue to do so and be inspired by others.

 

Which food is your guilty pleasure?

Pizza and if sweets count, Percy Pig and Squashies sweets (apple and cherry).

 

We would like to thank Donna for her time and sharing these answers with us! If you would like to follow Donna and keep up to date with her journey, go visit her social media below.

 

Instagram

 

Twitter

We are delighted to welcome our newest Ambassador to The Mason Mile team, Sean Ash. With him, Sean brings a unique and inspiring story that shines a garish light on the harsh realities’ life can throw at us. The way in which Sean has dealt with his own personal challenges has captured the hearts of many; with Sean serving as a reminder to persevere through the hard times and that we are capable of much more than we might imagine!

Sean is a Father of four and a London Ambulance Service Emergency Call Handler from Bexley. In August last year, Sean’s whole existence shifted when he was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome, a rare condition which left him paralysed below the waist. This diagnosis understandably had a huge impact not only on Sean’s physical health, but his mental health too. Initially, Sean struggled to come to terms with the tough reality he had been faced with; unable to see a way out or any real purpose to life. However, remarkably Sean then found the strength to channel his own hardships into helping others and committed himself to raising money for the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust after they saved his life.

After intensive physiotherapy, Sean completed the near impossible and managed to walk 10 meters with his Zimmer frame. This achievement spurred him on to do more, and Sean set up his ‘Xtra Mile’ campaign to echo the extraordinary lengths that the NHS staff go to for us all every single day. Inspired by Captain Sir Tom Moore, Sean followed in his footsteps and has since completed two 1-mile walks, the first in his local neighbourhood and the second around Millwall Football Club’s pitch. Sean has now raised almost £80,000 for the NHS and has found a new lease of life in his passion to inspire others.

We asked Sean,

What inspired you to volunteer as an Ambassador?

‘I decided to become an Ambassador for The Mason Mile because I believe in its core values and objectives: to help inspire those who are inactive into activity. I have been there before; depressed, fatigued and with no motivation to get up and move. It’s the hardest thing to do when you are feeling low and in the dumps. But through movement, that’s where we really get our body working again, and taking that first step is the key to feeling happier and being healthy again.’

What do you hope to achieve through becoming an Ambassador?

‘As an Ambassador, I would like to reach out to those who say they cannot do it and tell them that they can. Anything that seems impossible can be achieved if you get up and try. It took me around 600 times to build up my core muscles again so that I could have the strength to stand holding onto a Zimmer frame.

If we give up at the first hurdle, we will never complete the race. Some people think that winning the race is the highest achievement one can achieve, but I believe that we all are different, and the true race is not competing against each other, but competing against our own demons that persist in holding us back. I’d like to encourage more people to get involved with The Mason Mile and for them to take a stand and make those steps – for me that’s a huge achievement in itself.’

You can donate to Sean’s ‘Xtra Mile’ fundraising campaign by clicking here.

We hear the words ‘mental health’ as flippant remarks made by society, but rarely do we stop to lift the veil and look mental health in the eye. Time to Talk day is all about encouraging the nation to speak more openly about mental health in the hope to remove the stigma that surrounds it.

The theme for this year is the power of small – acknowledging that small conversations can have a big difference. ‘The power of small’ is a theme that has also been inadvertently prominent throughout the pandemic, where as a nation we have come to appreciate the positive impact of these small things in our lives. Now more than ever, it is so important to start these small conversations, ‘as the more conversations we have, the more myths we can bust and break these barriers down’.

1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year. Yet the shame and silence that surrounds this statistic is deafening. Whether we have personally suffered poor mental health or not, Time to Talk Day gives us the opportunity to learn how we can support our friends and family members when they may be struggling.

Somebody that understands the sheer gravity of this is Ben West. Ben is a multi-award-winning mental health campaigner from Kent, committed to raising awareness and tackling the injustice that surrounds mental health. Ben channelled his grief into action following the death of his brother Sam, who took his own life in January 2018 at the age of 15. Ben subsequently launched the Walk To Talk project, involving 450 people walking a 200km journey, where he raised £15,000 for the samwestfoundation.org. This initiative was called Walk to Talk simply because Ben realised that when anyone walks, there’s a natural inclination to talk.

Ben claims, ‘not talking is something that unfortunately is reflective for most of us. Mental health isn’t discussed.’ In light of this, we have asked Ben a few questions in order to gain some insight into how we can try and overcome this issue and start having those important discussions about mental health.

What would you say to someone who may be feeling isolated or ashamed of their mental health issues?

The hardest thing you can do is talk about what's going on. It can be hard to articulate, especially because for a lot of people, we don't really understand what's going on ourselves. However, having that conversation is so important. So if you're feeling down, don't pretend like it's all okay, reach out and tell someone.

How has your own experience of confiding in someone worked for you?’

You can feel the pressure release when you tell someone. Your whole body relaxes and it almost feels more manageable. When we bottle things up, those thoughts and feelings that are making us feel low will just grow and grow and can sometimes feel overwhelming, but when we talk about them and put them out in the open, we see them for what they are and we see that we can beat them.

Do you think walking and talking is an effective way to encourage people to open up?

Having an activity to do whilst talking is a great way to break down barriers that would prevent people from talking honestly about issues. Walking is a great example. If you're worried about a friend, invite them for a walk around a local park and ask if they're okay.

‘What are your top tips for starting and having a conversation about mental health?’

It's a really hard subject to bring up. No one wants to talk about illness, whether physical or mental and so usually we avoid those subjects and try and remain positive. The best thing to do if you're concerned about someone is to just count to 3 and ask them directly and straight up what's going on, and if they're okay. Give them permission to be honest, tell them that you're always there to talk if they need.

We would like to thank Ben for sharing these answers with us! But also for the incredible work he is doing to raise awareness around mental health, which will make a difference to so many people’s lives!

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved/time-talk-day

The Family Mile is a Sport England funded well-being initiative, striving to challenge health inequalities and offering that first step to activity for people who may, otherwise, feel exercise is not for them. Delivered in (and by) local communities, The Family Mile is rolling out in some London boroughs in 2021 and will be coordinating with local schools, councils, businesses, and exercise groups to empower the hardest to reach communities to become more active.

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The Mason Foundation was born from Stephen Mason’s drive to deliver a solution for what he saw, was becoming an increasingly inactive nation. The ripple effects of this inactivity were clearly translating across Britain in rising obesity levels, poor state of wellbeing, and a huge strain on the NHS. With continuing increases in economic and social inequalities, The Family Mile was designed to offer a simple solution and empower disadvantaged families to live happier and healthier lives, all by doing ‘Their Mile, Their Way’!

We are a national charity, funded by Sport England and match funded by our equally committed partners to deliver our Family Mile across 6 localities in the South East and London. Excitingly, we are already mobilising in Maidstone, Thanet, and Medway, and beginning to mobilise in Southwark, Thamesmead, and Islington! We are delighted to be partnering with local organisations who harbour the same aspirations as us, with this shared ethos meaning we can operate not just on a national level but also on a local level, allowing us to provide important, on the ground engagement.

Our initial pilot year in Maidstone saw great success, with up to 300 members of the community showing up to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’! Funded by Sport England and match funded by our driven local partner, Golding Homes, we successfully created a thriving Family Mile community – with 84% of families reporting that they were more active since joining The Family Mile.

We are proud to say that in 2019/20, we have reached over 50,000 people in the South-East, addressing some of the hardest to reach areas of health inequality. Despite the challenges this year has brought, we have kept the community spirit alive through social media – delivering virtual workouts and wellbeing tips to families at a time when they needed it most. More recently, after weeks of training, we celebrated the first of our Ambassador led walks in Maidstone. Our Ambassador training programme will give local people the skills and confidence they need to deliver safe and inclusive walks; meaning that The Family Mile can continue to be delivered after the initial funding has ended. Our triumph in Maidstone paved the way for the growth of The Family Mile, securing us further Sport England funding and match funding to expand further across Kent and London.

As we continue to gather momentum, we are incredibly excited to be bringing The Family Mile to London! We have partnered with L&Q, Peabody Trust, and Vinci Construction to roll out The Family Mile in various boroughs of London. We have implemented a strategic plan to have all these localities up and running by the start of summer, with recruitment and Ambassador training unfolding over the first few months of 2021 – starting with Southwark, followed by Thamesmead and then Islington.

In 2012, the capital of our country was inspired by the power of sport in the London Olympics. The Family Mile aims to recapture this motivation, encouraging people to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’! This notion forms an undercurrent of our initiative and was a strong theme within our second lockdown campaign. As a result of the winter lockdown, we were concerned what this would mean for people’s mental health and felt it was paramount to help encourage individuals to take part in regular activity. Hence the hashtag #MyMileMyWay was born. This hashtag was essentially a tool to help people get outdoors, with the campaign encouraging people to upload a picture of their walk, use this hashtag and nominate their friends to do the same – creating a domino-like effect. The campaign received some fantastic traction, with the likes of World Record holding race walker Tom Bosworth getting on board, along with GB Paralympian Kylie Grimes, and Instagram powerhouse thehappinessprojectuk.

Whilst still only in our infancy, our delivery of The Family Mile alongside this dynamic campaign highlights our spirit and commitment to making a difference to those who need it most. Now, we are looking forward to bringing our determination to London and working with likeminded organisations to deliver The Family Mile across the capital and beyond!

British Para-Athlete Kylie Grimes tells us all about how sport helped her following her life-changing accident and how she believes anyone can be active, not to mention her love for chocolate and cheese!

Photographed by Michaela Greene

Today marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This day aims to promote disability inclusion and the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - to leave no one behind. The notion of ‘leaving no one behind’ mirrors our own ethos here at The Mason Foundation. We believe exercise is something that is accessible to all, regardless of ability or disability, and we provide a simple solution - for people to do ‘Their Mile, Their Way’!

In light of this, we have spoken to the incredibly inspirational Kylie Grimes, someone that epitomises resilience and shows us that there are no barriers for taking part in physical activity - only the ones we put there ourselves. In 2006, Kylie sustained a life-changing spinal injury from a swimming pool accident, however, she was determined to not allow her injury to stop her doing sport. Kylie is now a double Paralympian that has competed for GB in both wheelchair rugby and athletics and is presently training for the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics. We have asked Kylie a few questions to find out a bit more about her and how she benefits from keeping active!

How did your involvement with sport following your accident help you?

After my accident I knew I had to get straight back into sports, not only for the health benefits and to get physically strong again but because of the social aspect and being around people. It really helped me to focus on something and work towards a goal.

How do you feel being regularly active benefits your overall wellbeing day to day?

Being regularly active massively helps my overall well-being every day because it challenges my body and keeps my mind calm and focused. I can then concentrate on daily tasks better too and general life.

What would you say to someone who might be in a similar position to what you were that believes being involved in sport is out of their reach?

I would tell anyone that believes sport is out of their reach to just go and give it a try. Find a local club to you and believe me you will feel the benefits from one training session with likeminded people.

With your busy training schedule for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics, what would you say helps to motivate you on your tougher days?

On my tougher days when I’m feeling like I don’t really want to train, I meditate for 10mins, eat some good food and sometimes watch something to inspire me. Then I’m ready to go and train, I always feel better afterwards.

Do you believe that anyone can enjoy sports and the benefits of being active?

I believe everyone, of any ability can enjoy sports and being active. The power of sports is huge and what it can do for your mind, confidence and general life day to day is amazing. It honestly helps everything.

What are your plans following the Tokyo games and how will you stay involved with sport?

I’m not actually sure on my plans after Tokyo yet, but definitely still play sports and hopefully more speaking engagements to get people motivated and to change perceptions on people with disability in sport and life.

When you’re not training or playing sport, how do you relax and have fun?

When I’m not training or playing sports, I love walking my dogs in the country, binge watching a Netflix series eating a bag of minstrels or going to music concerts. But my biggest passion when I have a spare couple of weeks is travelling and seeing new places. My favourite countries are Cambodia and South Africa.

What is your favourite go to snack?

I absolutely love chocolate and cheese. Every type of both but not together!!

We would like to thank Kylie for sharing these answers with us and giving us some insight into the life of a successful Paralympian! We wish her all the luck for Tokyo 2021, and if anyone would like to follow her journey, go visit her Instagram or Twitter here.

https://www.instagram.com/kyliegrimes7/

https://twitter.com/kyliegrimes

We’ve all heard the saying, age is just a number, and in some ways it really is. As we get older, our physical appearance and mental capacity are no longer necessarily defined by our age, but by how active we are. It is said that many people in their late eighties can be as healthy as those in their late sixties, and conversely, many in their early seventies live with the health generally expected of a ninety year old*.

However, that may depend on whether we are moving or not.

 

 

Our Silver Mile is an initiative working to help the older generation do just that - move! We encourage older people to participate in regular physical activity by walking, jogging or even running a mile! You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go!

We want to highlight how participating in gentle activity can start to remove some of the barriers associated with old age, helping individuals stay healthy, energetic and more independent as they get older. Currently, many adults aged 65 and over, spend on average 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down*. This inactivity correlates with higher rates of falls, obesity, heart disease, dementia and early death, in turn, creating more pressure within the health care systems… But what if there was a simple way to help reduce this?

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates once said, ‘Walking is man’s best medicine’*. You may think, “why should we listen to something one man said thousands of years ago?” However, his words stand as true today as they did then.

There’s strong evidence that people who are active have a lower risk of heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and dementia. In fact, experts have found that people aged 60 and over who did just 15 minutes of activity each day, reduced their risk of dying early by 22%, compared to those of a similar age who were inactive**. If an actual medication had that sort of effect, everyone would want it, wouldn’t they? So, maybe Hippocrates had a point.

The Silver Mile can be delivered within the community or residential homes and other social or care settings. We provide suitable resources and the support needed to help get our ageing communities more active. The Silver Mile is for all older community members, regardless of disability or ability. There is no pressure on time limits, no specific clothing needs to be worn - this is a solution that allows people to just do ’Their Mile, Their Way’.

This has been a challenging year for many people, but none more so than for the older generation. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many individuals cooped up inside, isolated from their families and from the outside world. This has unsurprisingly affected not just their physical wellbeing, but their mental wellbeing too.

The Silver Mile will aid the older demographic in overcoming this. Joining in with The Silver Mile will help individuals to make friends with likeminded people and get involved with their local community, creating a much-needed positive feeling, leading to increased overall wellbeing. Not forgetting the many health benefits, from improved muscle and joint pain to stronger cardiovascular health.

Just look at Captain Tom Moore. Although, having recently been treated for a broken hip and skin cancer, for his 100th birthday he walked 1.6 miles by doing laps in his garden in a bid to raise money for the NHS during the pandemic. This surpassed all physical expectations of someone who is a hundred years of age… And he’s at it again! His second and most recent campaign, to get people to #WalkWithTom, shows that Captain Tom not only represents resilience within the older community, but shows us that anyone, no matter their age or ability, can gain a wealth of health benefits from regular activity. Some may just need that extra nudge or incentive, which is how The Silver Mile can motivate and encourage the older generation to move more.

Whether you are a charity, a residential or nursing home, or any other social or care setting, you can embed The Silver Mile. If you would like to know more, check out our website or please get in touch on info@masonfoundation.co.uk.

Sources:

* https://www.ukactive.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/ukactive_Life_Fitness_Moving_More_Ageing_Well-Report.pdf

** https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/a-15-minute-daily-walk-will-help-you-live-longer-says-study/

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