A day with Risqat: Our physical activity intern & resident athlete

My day starts at 07:00 this morning with weight training at the gym. I’m an athlete so fitting training around work can mean some early starts! Once I get to the office today I’m straight back out again for the preview of the ‘This Girl Can‘TV advert for Sport England’s new campaign to celebrate active women (no matter their activity/why they do it/level of fitness) and inspire more women and girls to move more and overcome any barriers they may face. The event was held at the BAFTAs building in Piccadilly and hosted by the charismatic Claire Balding. Watch the briliant advert here: http://bit.ly/1u137oe and visit the website for more information on the campaign, tips on getting into sport and the social media response!

After an exciting morning it’s back to head office for me to have lunch (today is garlic & herb chicken with Moroccan vegetable rice – I’m a big foodie so it’s always something tasty) and get on with the day. As the physical activity intern I get to be involved in multiple projects so my days always vary. This afternoon I’m working the physical activity team blog; tweaking the site, writing and uploading posts. Then I’m busy updating an England-wide survey for walking for health as we’re working towards linking projects together to increase awareness and get more people walking. The last portion of my day is spent managing the teams’ attendance and presentations at upcoming conferences. It’s important for us to have a presence at relevant events to influence the changing tide of inactivity and health in the UK and spread the physical activity message far and wide.

I usually leave work at 17:00 and tonight I haven’t got any specific track training but I’m going to do some yoga. It’s a physical activity beneficial to all ages and has a hugely positive response from people living with and beyond cancer, with many studies showing an increase in quality of life. I enjoy it because it’s relaxing and helps my back!

There you have it, one day in the life of me! Risqat

Walking football match at Active Luton

The Macmillan physical activity team spent our recent away day playing walking football against a group on the Active Luton ‘Move More’ exercise programme for people affected by cancer.

Walking football is a simple but ingenious, slow-paced adaptation of the traditional game that does not allow running or jogging. It’s harder than it sounds, or even looks; actively trying not to jog or run is difficult and the resulting brisk/power walking really gets your heart rate up!

Luton’s own former boxing champion Billy Schwer, an ambassador for the ‘Move More’ programme, was in attendance on the day and took part in the match.

Billy, himself a vocal advocate for reversing poor health through good nutrition and regular activity, said: “I feel proud to be able to support such a fantastic programme. I believe that a combination of physical, mental and nutritional health will aid prevention and recovery of any disease”

“This programme gives the tools to help people fight against cancer. You only have to look at the participants today to see the benefits that they are getting from the scheme.”

Helen Barnett, Active Luton Chief Executive, added: “The feedback on this programme has been overwhelmingly positive and is making such a difference to people’s lives.

Luton is not the only project Macmillan supports to have adopted walking football into their programme with a positive reception. The Dorset, Berkshire and Shropshire sites have successful walking football groups.

Just last week BBC News mentioned walking football as one of many unusual ways to be more active, you can read about it here: http://bbc.in/1y2Tc6O

All you need to facilitate walking football are some goals (or cones) an indoor or outdoor space, a referee and some bibs! The idea of walking can also be incorporated into other sports such as walking Netball, Walking basket ball or walking ‘touch rugby’.

Be sure to contact us and give us your thoughts if you try walking football or another adapted sport at physicalactivity@Macmillan.org.uk or on our twitter at @Macmovemore

Top tips to help you move more in 2015

2015It’s that time where the mince pies and joyous feasting of yesteryear (2014 was weeks ago!) might be playing on our minds (or our waistbands). With determination and self control to rival Tibetan monks many of us decide to embark on one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions worldwide: be more active and/or eat well.

Whether you’re doing it for improved overall health, to tone up, or to lose weight you aren’t alone and it’s no easy feat. To help make sure your resolutions don’t fall by the wayside we’ve listed some failsafe tips below.


– Its unlikely you’ll lose 10 pounds, completely cut out sugar, run a marathon and master a new sport alongside your current day to day life in two months. Get real about your goals – no fad diets or gruelling daily workouts when you previously avoided exercise like the plague. Instead become a healthier you by eating healthily and being physically active at a level that suits you.


– To really achieve your goals they need to be specific. Know what you want and focus on the positive. Also break down your goals into manageable chunks. By being specific it’s easier to review how well you’re progressing with your goal.


– Once you’ve decided on your goals, tell people about it! It’s easy to break promises that only you know about, so by sharing your resolutions with friends, family or colleagues you are more likely to stick to them. You can then get people around you to remind you on a regular basis why you want to achieve your goal and what you need to do to get there and lean on them for motivation.


– We know goals are rarely achieved in one go, so break them down into smaller milestones and reward yourself along the way (not with a takeaway, mind.) Celebrate your success with treats that don’t contradict your resolutions but contribute to them. E.g. A pricier cut of meat for dinner, a new item of sportswear or booking a massage. Treat yourself healthy!


– This is the most important tip, ENJOY YOURSELF. You’ll never stick to a healthy eating plan or get physically active if it’s boring or unrealistically difficult. Rather than just eating lettuce, healthy eating can be tasty and filling if you take the time to find meals you like. And if you hated running all your life, don’t do it! Maybe you love swimming, football or Zumba instead.

Finally don’t beat yourself up if you have a slip up, mistakes do happen and rather than drag yourself down, just look to the following day to start afresh.

Good luck

Northern Ireland Workshops

Macmillan logoOn 2nd December 2014, Macmillan facilitated a Physical Activity Workshop at the Dunsilly Hotel in Antrim, Northern Ireland. The purpose of the workshop was to highlight progress to date in Northern Ireland in relation to Cancer and Physical Activity, to outline Macmillan’s strategic direction in relation to Cancer and Physical Activity, and to ascertain the views and opinions of key stakeholders. It is important to spread the physical activity and cancer message throughout the UK and Northern Ireland has so much positive activity in the coming year to look out for. Feedback from the workshop includes:

“Very good workshop. Needs to be run every year”

“Well presented, good opportunity for networking, and vital links with Macmillan staff”

“It’s great to get everyone together and to contribute on how we can evolve the work in partnership”

Further information about physical activity and cancer can be found here: www.macmillan.org.uk/physicalactivity and you can email the team at physicalactivity@macmillan.org.uk


Presenting at the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences annual conference

Recently our Shropshire project representatives Kim Davies (Get Active Feel Good Advisor) and Gareth Mapp (Director of Lifestyle Fitness) presented a poster of the programme titled ‘Get Active Feel Good embedding physical activity intervention support within cancer care pathways’ at the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) annual Conference in St Georges Park. Click on the poster below to open it in a new window and again to enlarge it and learn more about the integration of physical activity into cancer care pathways. It’s worth a read!

BASES presentation poster

Get walking with Paths for all

MMPaths for all is the Scotland equivalent of Walk for Health (mentioned in a previous post) and we’re working with them alongside Sport Aberdeen to deliver an extensive programme of health walks for people affected by cancer in Aberdeen city.

Walking is a fantastic activity for those who are just starting to be more active and the walks are free, sociable and of varying difficulty so anyone in the community can partake. The enthusiastic volunteers who lead the walks have all completed their training so are able to help you get the most out of a healthy, enjoyable walk, whatever your pace.

It’s a great opportunity to get together with likeminded people with similar life experiences and challenges or even leave those same things behind!

For more information please contact markbrown@sportaberdeen.co.uk or call 01224 577729. You can also access the Paths for all website here: http://www.pathsforall.org.uk/