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By: Amy Williams

ukactive’s Strategic Partner Slimming World are keen to help their members get more active and raise money at the same time!

For the past three years, Slimming World and Cancer Research UK have worked together to run Slimming World does Race for Life events in Slimming World groups across the UK, inspiring members to get more active and to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Slimming World does Race for Life events are organised by our 4,000 highly-trained Consultants who run around 13,000 Slimming World groups across the UK. In keeping with our Body Magic activity programme, which is designed to take the threat out of exercise and encourage gradual steps to a more active lifestyle, participants can be sponsored to cover a distance of their choice. The events aren’t about competing but about building up the confidence of our members to move more and to enjoy getting out and about being active, making friends and improving their health.

Being involved in Race for Life has a number of benefits, raising awareness of the importance of keeping active while helping members to take part in activity all at the same time. For us, promote ng the benefits of activity is important – doing moderate exercise helps our members feel more alert, boosts their energy levels, reduces stress and can prevent diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease. The research we have done shows that our members who incorporate exercise into their routine are more likely to maintain their weight loss. Having something to work towards such as Race for Life can be a great way to inspire behaviour change in our members leading to them feel more confident in establishing an exercise routine.

In the run up to their Slimming World does Race for Live event members discuss and share ideas for how to get started, using the support network of their consultant and other group members. And the event itself provides a great chance to take those first steps in a social setting, with the support of fellow members and friends. Kirstie Clowsley who runs the Boscombe East Slimming World Group explains how it was a “fantastic event, which saw participants young and old enter with a broad range of different abilities and fitness levels.”

The events are also a great chance to bring local communities together, we often hear great stories of participation and often local mayors and celebrities go along to the events to show their support. The events really show local people just how motivating being part of a Slimming World group can be.

Best of all, we are seeing the number of our members take part in these events steadily rise each year, from 13,430 in 2013 to 54,980 in 2015. This just shows the strength of such a partnership which celebrates our members, allowing them to get active in an inclusive and fun way while also raising money for a fantastic cause.

On top of our work with Race for Life, we are keen to advocate the benefits of activity to our members as much as possible. Our consultants are encouraged to develop links with community groups and leisure providers to help signpost members to different activities they can do in their local community. There is an emphasis on finding the right sort of activity for people, one that fits in with their lifestyles and can be made part of their daily routine. As well as this, we are currently conducting research with Sporta to better understand the barriers to activity that some of our members face. Once we can understand this we can do more to help and encourage our members to get active so they can reap all the rewards that it can bring.