BY CIARAN O’DONNELL
Donegal Sports Partnership is set to play an integral part in the Winter Initiative aimed at encouraging and motivating people of all ages and backgrounds to get active over the winter months.
Speaking following the recent launch of the national campaign, Donegal Sports Partnership Coordinator, Myles Sweeney, said: “The DSP have quite a number of sport and physical activity events organised over the coming months to support this initiative, the challenge will be to direct our communities to those events. We are also conscious about supporting people in the home setting who may not have an opportunity to join community events. Basically, it’s about engaging as many people as possible to participate in physical activities to support physical and mental health.”
“We have had the experience of the ’30 For 30 Christmas Challenge’ which we rolled out at the end of 2020, that 30-day initiative attracted 4,500 participants, hopefully, the Winter Initiative which is over 90 days will do something similar. The initiative is aimed at all ages and all abilities, and it’s open to families to participate. Everyone who registers to take part will become part of a dedicated Facebook page, this platform will be used to support participants during the campaign. Each participant will be provided with an activity calendar that can be used to track the number of minutes of daily activity. Through the Facebook page other useful resources and motivational messages will be posted on a bi-weekly basis,” Mr. Sweeney added.
“We are encouraging all types of activities. Ultimately, we are trying to get people to go outdoors and experience the outdoors and nature through walking, jogging, running or cycling. We also want people to be safe and make sure they don’t venture outdoors inclement weather conditions or where there may be dangers. If people can’t get out, then there are plenty of exercises and resources available online to exercise indoors”.
“The World Health Organisation recommends that people should engage in some form of moderate exercise for 30 minutes five days per week, so you’re looking at 150 minutes per week for adults. That can be made up of 10 minutes here and 15 minutes there, so our approach is to encourage people to exercise in short bursts but often and to add exercise to their daily routine.”
Pointing out that people who are active understand the benefits of regular exercise to their physical and mental health, the DSP Coordinator went on: “What we are trying to do is to reach those who aren’t factoring in exercise to their daily routine at the minute and to provide them with the many benefits.
We will be promoting this campaign on an ongoing basis, it’s a long campaign so participants can join at any time.”
“We will also be encouraging people to ‘buddy up’ for their daily exercise routine if possible. This way allows people to motivate one another, while it also develops social interaction which is such an important part of the programme,” he added.
Speaking at the launch of the Winter Initiative, Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs and Sport, said: “As the cold and dark nights set in at this time of year over the winter months, I think everyone knows that feeling where the motivation to get out exercising and to be physically active can drop. The Winter Initiative is designed to encourage people of all ages and abilities to stay active and embrace all the benefits that being involved in exercise brings over the coming months. A major focus of the Winter Initiative is also to support clubs, gyms, and sports centres all over Ireland by encouraging people to renew their club membership or volunteer with their local team or sports organisation to give a boost to the entire sports system.”
Welcoming the launch of the national programme, Sport Ireland’s CEO, Una May, commented: “NGBs and our network of LSPs will be hosting events all over the country and these afford everyone the opportunity to try something new or engage again with a sport that they might have drifted away from and to get healthy and get active this winter. We would really encourage people to try to make sport and physical activity a part of their daily routine.”
To register for DSP’s Winter Initiative, follow the link below: