Cooped-up Brits desperate for a dose of long-overdue physical activity believe a Team GB and ParalympicsGB's programme, Travel to Tokyo, is the perfect way to get back moving.
The countdown to the Olympic Games is intensifying and with under 50 days to go until the Opening Ceremony, the Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge is stirring schools and families into action.
Part of Get Set, Team GB and ParalympicsGB’s youth engagement programme, Travel to Tokyo empowers young people and their families to get active and create healthy habits.
The initiative has been created with Sport England and Spirit of 2012 funding and promotes young people – and their classmates – getting active and celebrating their progress as one school team.
Alarming recent findings from Sport England found well under half of children and young people (44.9 per cent) – a total of 3.2 million – reached the recommended average of an hour or more of exercise a day.
But new research shows a whopping eight in ten of us (82 per cent) reckon getting active together as a family is the best motivation through lockdown, with well over three-quarters (79 per cent) saying that Travel to Tokyo could help them and their family to fit activity into their day-to-day lives.
More than one and a half million people have been stirred into action by the challenge and Andrew Oliver, an assistant headteacher at Middlesbrough’s Pallister Park Primary School, is urging the rest of the country to follow suit.
He said: “The big appeal of Travel to Tokyo at my school is that we run it as a whole school project where everyone including staff, students and families can all get involved.
“We wanted to get students motivated, get them back into good habits as they return to school and Travel to Tokyo was the perfect fit as anyone of any ability could do it.”
And Mike Sharrock, Chief Executive of the British Paralympic Association, added: “It’s exciting to reach the final stage of Travel to Tokyo this summer term and to see the incredible progress over one million participants have made on their virtual journeys to Tokyo.
“Travel to Tokyo celebrates young people of any ability to get active in their own way and we can’t wait to have school teams support our athletes as we kick off the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.”
Staying active offers major benefits to young people and their families and has the potential to reduce stress and anxiety by increasing feelings of wellbeing.
And as part of the innovative Travel to Tokyo virtual challenge, every physical activity – no matter how small – can be logged online on the Get Set website.
The website includes a raft of resources to get the nation back moving in their communities, with all logged activity converted into distance to make the 47,349 kilometre ‘round-the-world’ journey from London to the Japanese capital.
The programme is fully inclusive and enables the whole family to take part, with the incorporation of household items expanding participation and meaning anyone can get involved.
And the Travel to Tokyo initiative is also embedded with an academic element, with the programme allowing young people to discover different countries and cultures as they make their voyage to Tokyo.
Prizes such as Nintendo Switches, Micro scooters and school visits with athletes are also up for grabs and Neil Townshend, chairman of the British Olympic Foundation, said: “We’re thrilled to see over 1.5million participants be part of Travel to Tokyo.
“It’s so encouraging to see people get active from all across the UK and to join our athletes on their journey to the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Mike Diaper, executive director of Children, Young People and Tackling Inactivity, Sport England added: “It’s fantastic to see just how many youngsters and their families are getting active together through the Travel to Tokyo programme.
“Helping to hopefully set habits for life, schools, pupils and families have all worked so hard and achieved great accomplishments.
“I am so excited to see them complete their journey to Tokyo this summer.”
Discover the free school and family activities at getset.co.uk/travel-tokyo. Stay updated with the latest news on Twitter @GetSetCommunity and @GetSetClub on Instagram and follow the journey using #TTTYourway