Birmingham City Council’s Head of Community Sport and Physical Activity Karen Creavin insists being physically active in Birmingham isn’t always about sport.
The thing about being physically active is that there’s no one-size fits all. For some people it means walking the dog, running or swimming. Others join a team for netball, football or cricket, while many people enjoy a trip to the gym, a bike ride or a Zumba class.
But we know that not everyone wants to be sporty, so in Birmingham we now have a growing schedule of FREE non-sporting activities in parks across the city.
Things like the weekly conservation session at Kings Norton Nature Reserve. The weekly three-hour session (Tuesday 10.30-1.30) offers an opportunity to pick up new skills and protect the local environment.
And, as Friends of Kings Norton Nature Reserve Volunteer Coordinator Amanda Cadman, explains, getting to grips with nature can be just as physically rewarding as a trip to the gym.
She said: “We always say that this Tuesday workout is just that: a workout and you never know what muscles you’re going to have to use.”
Nearby resident Brian Hewitt agrees. He added: “Whether it’s breaking up the grass or piling it up, dead hedging or other jobs, it’s all useful exercise and very worthwhile.”
Birmingham is a very green city, so it makes perfect sense to make full use of our wonderful parks and open spaces as we tackle the inactivity crisis.
So visitors to Lickey Hills Country Park can now enjoy den-building, bug hotels, pond-dipping, nature walks, toasting marshmallows, treasure hunts, wildlife detectives, natural art and lots more.
The weekly 90-minute ‘Lickey Explorers’ session is well attended and, as the comments below illustrate, the feedback has been extremely positive.
“Experienced pond dipping for the first time which was brilliant.”
“A lovely family morning. Outdoors fun, fresh air, exercise, time spent all together. We have thoroughly enjoyed Lickey Explorers.”
“A great session, enjoyable for all. My children are very excited to return.”
“We have lived at the foot of Lickey Hills for years and are hoping this will continue to run as the children had a great time in the outdoors. Brilliant. Thank you.”
The need for these activities is clear.
Being active can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%. Physical activity is also good for your mental health.
We need to provide opportunities for everyone to be active – not just those into sport – and Birmingham parks are playing their part.