A recent England-wide survey by Public Health England (PHE) reveals that more than a third of Black adults feel a lack of motivation might prevent them from adopting a healthier lifestyle. Of those surveyed, 79% believe that having access to ideas around effective exercise routines could help them to reach their health and fitness goals. In response, PHE is encouraging adults across the nation to use the NHS Couch to 5K app. This is one of several free apps available from Better Health, designed to support people to become more active and lose weight.
When Stella Eke, 46, felt she no longer had the energy to accompany her young child to the park, she knew something needed to change. “I felt an urge to be more active and to boost my stamina,” says Stella, a mother of one from London who had become inactive during the lockdown.
Having not run for about five years, Stella was initially hesitant about the idea. However, after downloading the Couch to 5K app and completing her first session, she knew she had made the right decision. “The first week was easier than I expected, and I found myself looking forward to the next session,” she says.
Juliet Bertie, 51, from Birmingham, experienced similar benefits. She initially started using the Couch to 5K app a few years ago, but when the pandemic hit she decided it was time to pick it back up. Couch to 5K users are able to follow the traditional layout of the programme, repeat certain weeks or even the whole programme. This makes it possible to progress at an individual pace.
“Running has become a big part of my life now,” says Juliet, who makes sure that she goes at least three times a week. “I started off with short intervals, and increased my pace week by week.” She can now run successfully for 40 minutes without stopping. “I’ve been really happy with my progress.”
Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at PHE, welcomed the news: “We’re thrilled that so many people have been using the Couch to 5K app to get more active over lockdown. Keeping active is not only good for our physical health but also crucial for our mental health. We hope the app has helped people to cope better with the challenges the pandemic has brought.”
Elle Linton, Fitness Trainer, said: “Running lets us celebrate what our bodies can do, what they can achieve and where they can take us. No one gets fit overnight, but starting small and gradually building up is the best way to begin. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, confidence comes from discipline and training.”
You can also search ‘Better Health’ or visit nhs.uk/betterhealth for free advice and support to help you get active and eat healthier this summer.
About the Better Health campaign
The Better Health survey was conducted by Opinium online with a nationally representative sample of 5,000 people in England aged 18+ in July 2021 and a booster sample of 309 Black adults.
The Better Health website (nhs.uk/BetterHealth) provides tools to help people improve their health and lose weight:
Get more active:
- NHS Couch to 5K app
- NHS Active 10 walking app
- NHS Weight Loss Plan app
- BMI Calculator
- NHS Easy Meals app
- NHS Food Scanner app
Reduce alcohol intake:
- NHS Drink Free Days App