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#ThisGirlCan campaign, works! Cradle to grave. From then, to now...

The #ThisGirlCan @ThisGirlCan campaign has already inspired 2.8 million women to be more active. The new Sport England campaign aims to inspire more women to be more active, more often.

Join in the fun!

You can download your own poster here (mobile phone only).

As you can see: science, medicine and sport was a strong feature in my early life. I ran, I played tennis, I was captain of the hockey team and I loved the outdoors. It became a lifelong habit alongside my studies, homelife and career/s.

But for many of my female friends, sport and exercise were an anethema. Which was hardly surprising given the poor changing facilities, lack of privacy, and focus on sport.

This is why we need women to claim physical activity as a basic human right. For all. For all times.

Please join the #ThisGirlCan campaign on social media. Let's help women be the difference to their health and the health of other women!

To now:

Some things never change: born disruptive! #ThisGirlCan.

Blog by Ann Gates MRPharmS, CEO Exercise Works!


*Press release* NEW, free, online, exercise and health course via @peoplesuni

1 in 3 deaths globally are as result of cardiovascular diseases, yet the majority of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable[1] 

A new course that highlights the importance of physical activity in healthcare services


  • NEW Exercise and Health course by Peoples-uni, pulls together a set of presentations developed by an International team of experts
  • The program contains data from different countries and it is designed to encourage students to perform interventions to increase physical activity in their setting

Manchester, January 23rd, 2017.
Peoples-uni, the UK-based charity focused on providing affordable education in Public Health, has debuted its new short online course, Exercise and Health. http://ooc.peoples-uni.org/course/view.php?id=22. The course is based on a set of world class presentations prepared by an international team of experts in exercise and health, led by Ann Gates, CEO of Exercise Works and a member of the World Heart Federation Emerging Leaders Programme. This organization is dedicated to leading the global fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with physical activity and exercise. 

The course consists of an inter-disciplinary educational resource designed with the goal of helping global healthcare professionals and community health advocates to understand four important points:

  • The size of the problem of physical inactivity in populations globally
  • The role of physical inactivity in non-communicable diseases
  • The benefits of exercise in treatments and prevention  

 The course contains presentations and resources which have been made available to all undergraduate medical and health schools to use, and they have been endorsed by the United Kingdom Council of Deans of Health. Data from different recognized sources such as Global Observatory for Physical Activity and the World Health Organization are also included. At the end of the course, students can earn a certificate.

 Ann Gates: “We are delighted to partner with the Peoples-uni on this exciting leadership initiative to provide low and middle income health care students with access and support to the Movement for Movement campaign and educational resources. We hope that this work inspires health care professionals to help patients, communities and nations to move more, and move well!”


 Professor Richard Heller from People’s-uni affirms: “We are proud and delighted to provide access to this excellent set of resources, on a topic of major public health importance, to a global audience of health professionals.”


Professor Ged Byrne, Health Education England’s Director of Education and Quality for the North confirms: “I support this initiative and look forward to the impact it will have on educating health professionals about the importance of physical activity on health. This is very relevant to Making Every Contact Count http://www.makingeverycontactcount.co.uk “ 



Physical exercise to address cardiovascular and other diseases 

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, identifies cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as heart disease or stroke, as the number one cause of death around the world, and 1 in 3 deaths globally are as result of CVD, yet most premature heart disease and stroke is preventable.  

Many of these NCDs relate to sedentary and physically inactive lifestyles and physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Regular moderate intensity physical activity (walking, cycling or leisure activities) is proven to provide very significant benefits for health and wellbeing as they can reduce the risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, breast cancer, and depression (WHO). 

That is why physical activity promotion, or the inclusion of exercise and active lifestyles in the designing of active lives is key. Therefore, training of health professionals in the benefits of exercise on their interventions and methods is an essential part in the strategy against CVD and other diseases, and Peoples-uni has joined this initiative to promote and protect individual health through regular physical activity. 

How to access the course and about People’s-uni OOC courses 

The program is part of People’s-uni short Online Open Courses (OOC), a range of short courses designed for self-study, available for free in an open access site, which also offers the possibility for to earn a certificate. The OOC initiative by Peoples-uni is a simple, quick, an affordable way for health professionals, or anyone interested in, in getting more specialization in certain public health related topics, or going deep into certain areas of general interest. To find more information http://ooc.peoples-uni.org/   

About Peoples-uni

Peoples-uni is a UK-based charity dedicated to offer affordable education in Public Health. Its main mission is to contribute to improvements in the health of populations in low- to middle-income countries by building Public Health capacity via e-learning at very low cost. To do that, Peoples-uni initiative offers master-level educative programs and short Open Online Courses (OOC). Individual course module development and delivery teams have involved more than 250 volunteers from more than 40 different countries

For more information visit http://www.peoples-uni.org/ 

About Ann Gates and the team of contributors for the resources 

Ann Gates is a health care leader, clinical pharmacist, and exercise educationalist. She started her career as a clinical pharmacist in the NHS but quickly became interested in leadership and service planning. Ann is CEO and founder of Exercise Works but has also worked as NHS Director of Strategic Planning and as Head of Health Strategy, for Trent Strategic Health Authority, UK. She is passionate about global health, action on inequalities, and exercise medicine.

The resources were curated and authored by Ann and her team as part of an international, collaborative health project including over 60 expert authors, health care students and educational evaluators.



[1] World Heart Federation, fact sheet - http://www.world-heart-federation.org/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/Fact_sheets/2016/Cardiovascular_diseases_in_the_UK.pdf


Walking Basketball: works!

Walking Basketball (WB) is a great low-impact cardio exercise for all.  


Some of our players record their statistics on wristbands and average 3,500 steps in a 60 minute session and burn approximately 500 calories in that time.   This fun sport is a walking version of the running game we all know and love.  However, the rules are designed to keep people moving up and down the court at a safe pace. 

Walking Basketball started for those aged over 50 and it has proved extremely popular.  However, we are working with other groups including businesses for team building, post-pregnancy Mums, people in rehabilitation programmes, a variety of age ranges and physical/learning disabilities, those with mental health issues and in many Leisure Centres we have become part of their Exercise Referral schemes.  

In fact we feel Walking Basketball is suitable for all ages, all sizes and all abilities and it’s fun!  We are finding that our players get hooked on the game and love the sense of camaraderie that individual games just don't have.  The social side is just as important for these groups as the taking part in sport. 

We run local, county and national tournaments for those who would like to take part.

We were proud to have Great Britain player Andrew Lawrence playing WB in our Surrey Sports Park sessions as a form of rehab after his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) operation.  He is convinced that he got back to the running game sooner than expected because of the movement he achieved through playing with us and psychologically he just loved being back part of the game.

Sessions tend to last at least an hour, starting with a gentle warm up which comprises of drills and hoop shooting practice.  We play a game of four quarters, with plenty of time outs/water breaks if required.  The session ends with a warm down.

Quotes from a couple of our players.

Jan Paton:
“Having completed my chemotherapy, my oncologist was very keen for me to regain my fitness and WBB provided me with the perfect opportunity to do so. Don't be fooled by the 'walking' I have never burned so many calories in such a short space of time! and all whilst having such a great laugh amongst new friends of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. I had never played basketball before but it is so easy to pick up and the fabulous coaches make sure that we all play to our best abilities. I was hooked within the first few minutes!!” 

Richard Hughes (former basketball player): “I really enjoy Walking Basketball. It is great to be back on court after so long. 

Everybody seems to enjoy it, it is great fun and good exercise. 

The game is surprisingly good, considering most players are beginners.

All in all, I had a great time with some nice people and it is very rewarding.”

Walking Basketball are working closely with the Basketball Foundation and the British Basketball League (BBL).  Many of the BBL teams run Walking Basketball sessions themselves.  We are also working with Basketball England as well to involve as many people as possible in this great sport and to get the inactive, active.

Website: walkingbasketballuk.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/wakingbasketball

Twitter: @walkingbball

Email: bridget@walkingbasketballuk.com

Blog moderated by Ann Gates CEO Exercise Works!

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