Skip to main content

Keep on moving

Hello my name is Elaine and I am the independent Chair of the Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership Board. It’s been a little while since I wrote my last blog and this time my focus is on a brilliant campaign from Living Well that helps us thing about how we can include some movement in our daily routine.

There is a small revolution going on in our house, my lovely husband is exercising every day, without fail, 20 minutes of it. He hasn’t needed any encouragement from me, I am genuinely impressed.

This has coincided with my learning about a new campaign that has been launched in Bradford District by the Living Well Team – it’s called the ’20 minute movement’.

The campaign encouraging people of all ages, across Bradford District, to move their bodies more – just 20 minutes every day can make a positive impact on our mental and physical health. How you complete your 20 minute movement is up to you – you can break it up into five minute chunks through the day, you can do it at home, on the way to work or to see friends or even in the office.

Watching this revolution at home and learning about the ’20 minute movement’ campaign reminded me of some work I was involved in a few years ago.

The Royal National Institute of Blind people (RNIB) asked the then Bradford Primary Care Trust to be involved with a research project to help prevent blindness in people with diabetes. The evidence showed that people with diabetes with Pakistani heritage were most at risk. I was the researcher, meeting with people from the community who generously gave us their time and insights. From this work together, and with NHS staff, we developed some interventions to help spread the message aimed at increasing people’s take up of eye screening and supporting them to take action to lower their blood glucose level.

The health staff were sceptical about whether people would change their behaviour. The staff’s belief was that most of us don’t respond to health messages. So I asked the community members involved. Had they ever changed their behaviour in response to a health message? All twenty four men and women were able to give me an example of when they had done that very thing.

From their stories three factors for success emerged:

  • Evidence, there has to be some evidence for the need to change. So perhaps a symptom, or a test result, or a clear understanding of a harmful outcome or a major benefit that might result.
  • The action that needs to be taken has to be possible in the real life of the person. This requires that health professionals have a good knowledge of their communities or the humility to ask, if they don’t know
  • There needs to be ongoing motivation for the long-haul especially with long-term conditions. From our community groups we learnt that ‘love’ (doing something to improve your health for love of family and their love for the person) is the most powerful tool.

Professor BJ Fogg, a leading expert on behaviour change at Stanford University in America ,talks about three things that need to be in place for people to change their behaviour in relation to health: a trigger, the ability to take action and the motivation.

Listening to our community members, their lived experience and wisdom chimed completely with that of the world-class professor. From this learning we worked together to develop interventions that were shown to have had a positive impact.

My husband’s behaviour change demonstrates exactly the same three themes. his inspiration was that he received some evidence; he found a YouTube video of manageable exercises that he could do at home (some of you may remember taking part in the Joe Wicks exercise routines during the Covid lockdowns); and the motivation is the desire to have a healthy old age to enjoy his grandchildren.

So in terms of the ’20 minute movement’ campaign – what might it take for you to join in? What might be your trigger to get a bit more active – to get fitter or to feel more positive?

Can finding 20 mins (or smaller chunks of time that add up to 20 minutes) fit in with your busy life? The website has lots of suggestions to make it easy to fit with however you live your life.

What might keep you motivated – maybe having other people around you joining in? It’s also about getting those around us, our friends, colleagues and family to be active too! The campaign wants to create a community that encourages, shares and supports each other as people invest 20 minutes a day in their own physical and mental health.

What am I doing? I love walking, and with a bit more time for leisure, I have joined the NHS1000miles in a year challenge. That is 2.79 miles a day. My friend Chris and I have also set up a series of mini-adventures with my nine year old granddaughter to climb local ‘mountains’. She loves that time we spend together, especially the picnics that Chris provides!

If the NHS 1000miles challenge isn’t the one for you just yet, why not use the NHS 75 parkrun events to mark the 75th birthday of the NHS and set yourself on a journey of being a more active you. The beauty is you can take part in park run by walking or jogging, if the idea of running isn’t one for you…just yet anyway!

There are already lots of us out and about walking in Bradford District and Craven, it would be great to see even more of us. Let’s give each other a smile as we pass by.

You can share your 20 minute movement pictures on twitter through our partnership account @ActAsOneBDC, with @MyLivingWell1 and of course with me @elaineappelbee.

Elaine Appelbee (you can find me on Twitter @elaineappelbee)

Independent Chair for Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership Board