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Huw Edwards, CEO of ukactive, discusses the ‘Fit for Office’ Parliamentary challenge taking place in March in partnership with Myzone

At the recent launch of The Times Health Commission report, Dame Louise Casey, the former Government official and leading figure on issues of social justice, said in the discussion on improving the nation’s health that “nothing is impossible when you’re in Government, nothing”, before reinforcing the importance of political will to drive real change.

It’s pretty difficult to be optimistic about politics right now, with cynicism and indifference currently dominating the national mood about our political institutions. Yet, Dame Casey, for all the challenges and obstacles she has faced in her roles and campaigns, believes that change is achievable.

And in a recent evidence session I attended in Parliament, I reinforced the need for there to be much greater political will to drive the changes we seek in our own sector, challenging parliamentarians to do much more to unlock the potential of sport and physical activity to help save the NHS, tackle the UK’s pandemic of poor health and help kick start our sluggish economy.

As a sector, we need as many parliamentarians as possible to become advocates for the amazing work we do in communities across the country and to focus their political energy on supporting us to do more. The great collaborative work across the sector, especially with the National Sector Partners Group, has really elevated our voice in Westminster, but we all know there’s more work to do.

That’s why we wanted to run ‘Fit for Office’, which is a month-long campaign to encourage as many parliamentarians as possible to be more physically active throughout March 2024 – and beyond!

ukactive is working with our partners Myzone to sign up MPs, Peers, and their staff to enter teams and measure their physical activity levels. They will be encouraged to build more physical activity into their daily Westminster routines, and visit our member’s facilities, including community sports facilities, gyms, pools, leisure centres, schools, and businesses in their constituencies to promote the campaign even further.

There’s a fun and competitive dynamic to the campaign – useful practice in a General Election year – but of course, we want this to have a positive impact to drive forward our lobbying work.

We want ‘Fit for Office’ to contribute to the ongoing work to elevate the role and value of our sector in improving the nation’s health. Ultimately, we need a permanent shift in mindset, with clarity from this Government and any future Government that it wants to get the nation more active, healthier, and happier; that it wants to fully unlock the potential of the sector to aid that; and that there is political will from the top to drive the change needed.

Most importantly, there is no time to waste.

With reported ill health among working-age people projected to cost the UK economy approximately £150bn a year (equivalent to 7% of GDP and an increase of 60% in the past six years), addressing this national crisis is paramount. Indeed, the sector is ready to support immediately, as ukactive’s Chair, Mike Farrar, set out in his Active Uprising speech, with the need to see the urgent deployment of our sector to help begin turning around our nation’s poor health.

Through ‘Fit for Office’ we want to encourage more physical activity and also more discussion on the importance of physical activity among our elected officials. We need our political leaders and legislators to understand and appreciate more the importance of movement to the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of the nation, and we want them to understand they need to do much more to promote and support an industry that could have a much bigger impact on a number of national priorities right now.

To find out more about the ‘Fit for Office’ challenge, click here.


Get Involved:

To encourage your local MP to take part in the ‘Fit for Office’ challenge, use our template email letter, available here.

You can support the challenge on your own social media channels by using #FitForOffice or by checking out our templates.

If you are an MP, Peer or member of staff and want to register for the challenge, please email: