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Friday
Apr042014

Latest guest blog via @roddyriddle- leading the way on Type 1 diabetes and exercise support!

Guest blog by @roddyriddle

Unfortunately we have just come out of the mildest winter that I can ever remember so for the first time ever I'm hoping that next winter bites back big style to help me prepare for the Arctic Ice Ultra Marathon. I have already had a few trips South to meet a specialist in Arctic conditions from Edinburgh Napier University who's experience is going to be such a benefit leading up to the Ice Ultra. He has told me one of the most important issues I will need to know is the difference between -10 and -30 as if I'm running at -10C with -30C clothing layers I will sweat to much which could cause trench foot and on the other side off the scale running in -30C with -10C clothing layers can cause frostbite.

The design team at Napier are getting to work to produce a product that will ensure my insulin pump will continue to work and make sure my insulin won't freeze in the extreme temperatures, which will be reassuring and one less thing to worry about. I sometimes question why I'm doing an Ice Ultra as I don't even like the cold but I am keen to prove that having type 1 diabetes shouldn't stop you achieving your goals and ambitions in life.

On a brighter note I am really looking forward to the 26th April to have a reunion with the Tartan Army who I shared a bivouac with during at the Marathon Des Sables 12 months ago. We are all taking part in the Highland Fling 53miles Ultra Marathon from Milngavie to Tyndrum on the West Highland Way. Over the last few weeks I was on the home page of Johnson & Johnson global website. This all came about when they released their end of year annual report and I appeared as the first story for running the Marathon Des Sables with type 1 diabetes.

My school presentations on exercise and type 1 diabetes have been doing well and mean a lot to me especially when there is pupils with type 1 in the school, I have had great feedback from staff and parents with and without diabetes saying that it's motivated their child to make a difference, which makes it all worthwhile for me.

by Roddy Riddle

Blog moderated by Ann Gates, Founder and Director of Exercise Works!

Tuesday
Mar182014

Using the internet and technology to increase sport participation 

Guest blog by Jamie Foale Co-Founder @mylocalpitch 


In August 2012 I was discussing with a friend about my experience of booking a football pitch for our upcoming Sunday League season. I had been nominated as captain, a role from which I took much pride, but one that turned out to be a poisoned chalice and a sneaky maneuver by the teammates. 

What had started with a phone call to the answer machine of my local council was turning out to be a bureaucratic nightmare. The written form that was my first official application had been rejected as the three pitches they asked me to nominate were unavailable. My plea to be told which pitches were available had fallen on deaf ears – protocol deemed it necessary I fill in the same laborious form again and return by post. 

My friend was Sandford Loudon and together we would go on to launch MyLocalPitch.com in 2013. Our aim was simple: make booking sport facilities as easy as it is to book as a restaurant. My experience was commonplace across the country as time and again people came across the same barriers: outdated procedures, lack of transparency and a lack of someone manning the phones. 

Using modern technology in the grassroots sport landscape allows us to smoothly open many previously creaky doors. However for all the good that it is doing, it is creating a further challenge by reducing the attention span and patience of young people who expect their choice of music, movies and food at the touch of a button. We are competing for people’s time in an age where the competition has never been fiercer. 

Opportunities are available to play sport

The stats for internet usage in the UK backs up our belief that we need to provide a viable online platform that promotes playing sport and getting fit. The UK is the most internet-based major economy[1], and its population spending more time online than any other in Europe[2]. In 2006 16 millions people accessed the internet every day; in 2013, this figure had grown to 36 million[3].

However, we can learn from this online activity and use the data to streamline the accessibility of sport. By looking at the 9,000 searches we processed so far we can see, for example, that 47% of our traffic is from mobile or tablets, and that traffic is more likely to be during the rush hour for racket sports. We know that the demand for astroturf football pitches compared to grass ones is normally 63%, and that during the wet weather in January this shot up to 83%.

We can translate this knowledge to better match demand with supply. When people try to book a pitch with their un-incentivized, over-worked sports bookings manager it is often not an experience they wish to repeat. MyLocalPitch.com’s goal is to provide a user experience that encourages people to return to our site, be able to quickly see what’s available and where, and as a result want to play more sport.


[1] Boston Consulting Group: Clicks Grow Like BRICS, March 2012

[2] comScore MMX: Total European Internet Audience, Age 15+, Home and Work Locations, May 2012

[3] Office for National Statistics: Internet Access - Households and Individuals, 2013

 

Blog moderated by Ann Gates BPharm(Hons) MRPharmS

Founder and Director of Exercise Works!

 

Monday
Mar172014

Heart health exercise can truly make a world of a difference!

Guest blog by Duncan Galbraith, Trail Leader – World Walking

This is the story of the Inverclyde Globetrotters.  Our continuing mission:

  • to explore new worlds
  • to seek out new friends
  • to boldly go where no cardiac rehabilitation class has gone before!

I am delighted to have this opportunity to share it with you.  I hope you enjoy it.

So who are the Inverclyde Globetrotters

The Inverclyde Globetrotters were formed 6 years ago from our weekly Phase IV cardiac rehabilitation class in Greenock, 25 miles west of Glasgow.  We’re now one of many classes delivered through the Live Active Exercise Referral Scheme that operates in our area. We now cater for a variety of conditions - although we still have more than our fair share of by-passes, stents and pacemakers. 

Our average age is over 65 and one or two of us are in their 80s.

It is a widely known fact that as soon as someone is asked to walk on a treadmill time immediately slows down and they mistakenly think that by staring at the clock on the machine they can will it to go faster. 

So, to address this problem, in February 2008 our members were asked a question by our instructor – “Do you fancy walking round the world?” – Not the kind of question you get asked every day.  

Luckily, once we had stopped laughing at the very idea of it we agreed to have a go. 

Our approach is very simple.  It’s certainly not new.  But it’s given us a lot of fun.

The hope was that our walk round the world would encourage us to stay active between classes.  It was also hoped that achieving a long term goal – a journey that would take years to complete - would provide a real sense of accomplishment.

We gratefully accepted a box of pedometers from the cardiac rehabilitation team at Inverclyde Royal Hospital, bought a map and set off on our virtual journey round the world. 

We timed the start our walk to coincide with the launch of the 2008 Scottish campaign to promote cardiac rehabilitation.  It was our way of saying thanks.

Contact was made with Olympic rowing legends, Sir Steve Redgrave and Sir Matthew Pinsent, more in hope than expectation, to ask if they would be kind enough to send a few words of encouragement and they did!  

Each week pedometers were handed over and steps recorded and distances walked, cycled and rowed during the class captured.  We tallied up our figures on a spreadsheet and plotted our progress on our map. 

And two things happened. 

  1. We began to look at the distance screen on the machine instead of the clock; and 

     2.  In May 2010, after 117 weeks on the road, having made it to Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympics,           we arrived back in Greenock having clocked up 30,688 miles

And we’re still going.  We’ve just walked our 250 millionth step!  We can’t believe it.

Our virtual travels have seen us clock up over 105,000 miles to over 100 countries worldwide so far.

But it’s not all about steps and miles - it’s about having fun.

We’ve made lots of friends along the way who have encouraged, supported and inspired us to keep going.  We didn’t think about any of that when we set off.  We just went for a walk.

So what lessons have we learned? 

  • We’ve learned that there are lots of people out there willing to help;

If you’re looking for that little bit extra motivation and fancy exploring our amazing world as you walk to work, walk with friends or walk to health you can join us on www.worldwalking.org where you’ll find a range of virtual walks from taking in the sights of top cities to trekking across a continent.

Hopefully, we’ll bump into you on your travels.

Duncan Galbraith

Trail Leader – World Walking Email: duncan@worldwalking.org.

Blog moderated by Ann Gates BPharm(Hons) MRPharmS

Founder of Exercise Works!