Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Let's join Our Greatest Team

The University of York has recently agreed to support a revolutionary exercise campaign in the year of the Olympics. The Our Greatest Team campaign aims to get people to make a pledge to do something active in 2012, be it running a marathon or trying out a new sport.  So far across the UK, an incredible 94,302 people have signed up on the Our Greatest Team website and a total of 1,209 "Community Hubs", including York, have confirmed their participation.

The campaign, driven by Olympic equipment supplier Technogym, attempts to unite the nation behind an ethos of motivation and good health, hence the slogan, "900 athletes, 60 million strong". Head of Sport at York, Keith Morris, insisted to me that this "is not a sales thing" but is solely geared towards improving the overall wellbeing of communities and helping them improve their lifestyle. And Paul Deighton, the CEO of LOCOG, said: “Technogym's initiative is a fantastic way for people to push beyond their personal best, make a difference to their lifestyle and also help support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.” 

One of the reasons why the initiative has proved so plausible and popular is because of the social media aspect promoted by Technogym. Movergy enables you to monitor your progress and connect with trainers and others making pledges, ensuring you are on the right track to achieve your goals. You can set yourself a daily routine and check on your progress, making sure you are fulfilling your pledges. It means you feel part of something bigger, and you are contributing your bit to what should be a memorable year of sport. Meanwhile, within the York area, Keith Morris has even suggested the campaign could be incorporated into Roses this year, providing a competitive edge and an extra incentive for people to get involved.

Clearly, the Our Greatest Team campaign gels with the London 2012 aim to provide a lasting legacy for future generations, which has been its key selling point. Last month, the campaign’s publicity hit new heights when Technogym announced the election of athletes Christine Ohuruogu and Sophia Warner as the Olympian and Paralympian Wellness Ambassadors for London 2012. And as you may already know, the Games’ environmental targets include limiting waste and pollution, delivering a "low-carbon Games" and promoting biodiversity in the surrounding area. The social legacy aims to maximise opportunities for everyone such as the 2012 London Business Network and a host of strategies geared towards increasing sports participation among children.

I just hope that people will continue to strive towards a more active lifestyle when the Olympics fanfare is over; this should not be a one-off experiment. It would be fantastic if those participating in Our Greatest Team continue or if the project is imitated by others; we desperately need to create a culture of wellbeing among youngsters. Of course, there are already several schemes in place to increase physical activity such as the government’s "Be Active, Be Healthy" and the NHS’s "Go London", but these are very much based around the south-east. We need the Our Greatest Team campaign and other similar initiatives to inspire people to look after themselves throughout the UK for generations to come. Let’s join the revolution!

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