National fitness and wellness charity challenge launched to support emergency services – Police Professional

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In celebration of Emergency Services Day today (September 9), emergency services teams and those that support the blue light community are being encouraged to register to take part in a month-long fitness and wellbeing charity challenge to raise money for four emergency services charities.
The Blue Light Get Active Challenge has been launched by national charities Police Care UK, The Fire Fighters Charity, The Air Ambulance Service and The Ambulance Staff Charity in partnership with country’s leading emergency service discount provider, Blue Light Card, and wellbeing organisation, Get Active.
Taking place from October 1 until October 31, the charity challenge will see participants tasked with clocking up as many miles or minutes of fitness or mindfulness exercises as they can throughout the month. The campaign aims to help improve the health and wellbeing of frontline workers while raising vital funds for the four charities that provide much needed support to the UK’s emergency services teams.
Following an exceptionally challenging two years where emergency services teams have been under more pressure than ever before, a recent study by MIND revealed that 69 per cent of emergency responders felt like their mental health had deteriorated as a result of the pandemic. This was due to increased workloads, exposure to traumatic events and worries over passing on the coronavirus to their loved ones.
Figures from Get Active have also revealed that one in three people of working age suffer with poor mental health, with 70 million working days lost each year in the UK as a result.
However widespread research has revealed that exercise has many benefits for our mental health and wellbeing, with one report by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers finding that there is a 20 to 30 per cent lower risk of depression for adults who participate in daily physical activity.
This autumn’s campaign marks the second Blue Light Active Challenge following a successful challenge in January, which saw a total of £15,000 raised for the four causes.
Tom Dalby, chief executive officer of Blue Light Card, said: “Our emergency services teams work incredibly hard day in, day out, but the past year and a half has seen them facing huge amounts of pressure, with many sacrificing their own health to keep the nation safe in the wake of Covid-19. The pressures of working tirelessly on the front line can have a significant emotional impact on those working within the blue light community but fitness and mindfulness exercises can play a big part in helping to overcome that.
“Supporting our emergency service workers is at the core of what we do so this Get Active Challenge is a particularly special one for us. I can’t wait to see how many take the time out of their day to focus on their health and wellbeing in October, all while raising money for a fantastic cause.”
David Kelly, director at Get Active Challenges, added: “Emergency service workers have not only been key in treating the public during the pandemic, but they’ve also been crucial for implementing that all-important vaccination roll-out – with tremendous success. Frontline workers have faced many challenges over the past year and a half, and with gyms and team sports only just reopening this summer, it’s been even harder than ever for them to focus on their own fitness and wellbeing.
“It’s so important to destress after a tiring shift, and we’d love for emergency responders to join us this October by taking part in any fitness or mindful exercise which boosts their mood. Whether that’s walking your dog or playing a netball game – no activity is too small.
“We’re delighted to be able to work with these charities and Blue Light Card once again after a successful campaign earlier in the year. We look forward to helping frontline workers reap the huge mental and physical benefits that fitness and mindfulness exercises can bring, while also raising money for four amazing organisations.”
Those taking part will be able to download the Get Active app and track their progress during the month. There will be points awarded for taking part in activities, and a leader board will be updated throughout the duration of the campaign with the overall winner crowned at the end of the campaign. Everyone who signs up and completes an activity will also receive a specially commissioned blue light medal at the end of the month.
To register and for more information on the Blue Light Get Active Challenge visit: https://bluelightgetactive.com
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