When it comes to health and fitness, no two people are the same — someone who swears by the benefits of a dedicated bodybuilding programme, for example, won't turn up to a weekly park run with the same enthusiasm.
The key behind getting active and staying healthy — both physically and mentally — is finding something that works for you, and this is the messaging behind Sport England's new 'We Are Undefeatable' campaign, a movement and project that's designed to make fitness more inclusive for everyone. Because when you're finding new ways to move and stay healthy, there's no one-size-fits-all approach.
The campaign (found here) encourages people to find a type of sport or fitness that works for an individual lifestyle, using incredible real-world case studies as shining examples of how fitness can transform your mind and body, even when suffering with a debilitating condition such as dementia, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer's or diabetes.
"The physical side is vitally important… but the emotional support is just as important," explains Tony, who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Playing football has helped him get active, meet new people and find like-minded individuals that share an interest in exercise.
"There's something wrong with just about all of us," he explains on how his group of four friends — some in their eighties — regularly meet to play 'three-touch' football on a weekly basis. For Tony, it's a way of not allowing his diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma to take over. "The fitter you are, the more able you are to do something about the illness," he explains. "I'd suggest to anyone my age, whether they're ill or not, to keep as fit as you possibly can be."
While football works for Tony, other case studies in the We Are Undefeatable campaign are just as inspiring. For Heraldo, who has dealt with heart conditions and prostate cancer, even simple exercises became nearly impossible.
Which is what brought him to pilates — where the stretches and light exercise routines helped him regain strength, while introducing a new activity that keeps him moving.
"There are times where I can't lift my arms above head-height," Heraldo explains. "I'm much fitter now, post-open-heart surgery, I can climb stairs, I can walk for longer... I feel good, if I don't exercise I feel guilty... My body releases some sort of drug that makes me feel good about myself."
Tony and Heraldo are just two shining examples of how Sport England is helping those suffering use fitness as an effective weapon against their illness. For more inspiring stories, head to weareundefeatable.co.uk.
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