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Tweet Thursday 22nd March 2018

Growing participation in orienteering in England

Sport England has today published the latest data from the Active Lives Survey, a comprehensive snapshot of the nation’s sport and physical activity habits, based on a sample of almost 200,000 respondents.

The results show that activity levels in England are stable. 27.7 million (61.8%) of people (aged 16+) in England are active – meeting the Chief Medical Officer's guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week – and are gaining the health benefits, including a reduced risk of dementia, depression, diabetes, and improved mental wellbeing. At the other end of the scale, 11.5 million people (25.7%) are inactive, meaning they do less than 30 minutes of physical activity a week. 

  • 27.7 million people (61.8% of the adult population) do the 150 minutes of activity each week recommended by the Chief Medical Officer
  • Walking remains the most popular way to get active, and there’s been a rise in the number of people doing interval training such as HIIT sessions
  • Levels of activity are stable across the population as a whole.

Other findings include:

  • Older people are getting more active, with an increase in the number of 55-74-year-olds meeting the 150-minute threshold (up 1.3% to 58.3%). This is important given that we have an ageing population. Brisk walking, including hill and mountain walking, appears to be driving this increase.
Growing participation in orienteering

Peter Hart, Chief Executive at British Orienteering, says:

“This report is very encouraging. The Active Lives survey is based on respondents in England and not the UK as a whole. I am very pleased to see that Orienteering is showing a growth again with more adults aged 16+ taking part in orienteering now up to 39,800 participants from 37,200 this time last year. This data continues to trend upwards and is certainly very positive for the sport of orienteering.”

Commenting on the survey results, Jennie Price, CEO of Sport England said:  
“While the overall activity levels of the nation are stable, what people are choosing to do is moving with the times. The popularity of HIIT shows the power of social media, and many older people are choosing to spend their leisure time in the great outdoors. Sport England has worked closely with the National Trust, the Forestry Commission and others to support more activity outdoors, and this will remain a significant area of investment for us.

The figures also show the huge importance of investing to tackle inactivity and the inequalities between different groups in society, which was highlighted in the Government’s strategy Sporting Future. It’s why Sport England's 2017-21 strategy has, for the first time, allocated 25% of its investment to tackling inactivity.

This is a long-term task but it could not be more important.”


The full report can be found here.

Tweet Thursday 22nd March 2018

Sports Governing Bodies Launch New Scheme to Beat Older Adult Inactivity and Loneliness with Fun and Games

Older adult wellbeing expert Oomph! partners with professional bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia to bring healthy competition to over 55s

The national governing bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia are today launching revamped versions of their games to attract over 55s to sport thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with older adult quality of life experts, Oomph! Wellness.

Oomph! aims to tackle inactivity and loneliness with its national plan to get 27,000 older adults doing regular, fun exercise within two years. Training is already well underway for workers and volunteers in venues catering for independent older adults such as retirement villages and housing associations - equipping them with the skills, knowledge and adapted equipment to run sports classes with an element of healthy competition. Venues from Lancashire to Hertfordshire will start running modified sports classes this week. The small start-up, well-known in the care home industry for operating exercise classes and outings, is one of the largest delivery partners of Sport England’s £10m Active Ageing Fund.

Sports resized for older adults

All activities have been designed to be run by instructors, who will undergo comprehensive training from Oomph!, and without expensive regulation equipment and facilities. Volleyball England has approved a fabric covered inflatable ball and bunting in place of an official net; British Weight Lifting has designed resistance exercises using foam pool noodles and recommends the use of everyday objects such as water bottles as hand weights; British Orienteering is helping venues to create walking (or marching) courses which use post boxes and other local landmarks as checkpoints and Boccia England has taken the principles of a Paralympic sport and modified them for older adult settings, for example by suggesting the use of bean bags in place of specialist bowling balls. Other sports’ National Governing Bodies are now in discussions with Oomph! about versioning their games for this growing demographic.


Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said: “By ‘gamifying’ exercise for older adults we’re making it fun and sociable rather than functional. We already use sports rather than pure exercise to motivate previously reluctant participants to join our classes on a regular basis. However, this new combination of Oomph!’s expertise with the appeal and competitive edge of professional sports bodies, is game-changing.”


Peter Hart, CEO of British Orienteering commented:  “At British Orienteering we are proud to be a sport that encompasses a wide age group, we have active members in their 90s, but working with Oomph! is the first time we have adapted many of our introductory activities to work with inactive older adults. It’s my belief that orienteering can offer older adults a fantastic mix of physical and mental exercise by adapting the challenge to suit their abilities.”

Tweet Friday 16th March 2018

Interland 2018

In the 2018 Interland match, England were narrowly beaten by the Belgian (Flanders) team. This year hosted by Nederlandse Oriënteringsloop Bond (NOLB) on 11 March in the woods and dunes of Herperduin, near Oss in North Brabant (Netherlands), Interland takes place annually between England, two Belgian teams (Flemish and French speaking), the Dutch, and a NE France team. Teams, 42 strong, include athletes from 14 classes across the age groups M/W14 to M/W60.

Photo: Phillip Gristwood

England athletes won six of the classes: Niamh Hunter (WCOC) in W20, Lesley Ross (OD) in W50, Jackie Hallett (BOK) in W60, Euan Tryner (SYO) in M14, Nick Barrable (SYO) in M40, and James Crawford (GO) in M60.

Other England athletes in the top 4 in class were: Sam Crawshaw (SYO), Alastair Thomas (WCOC), Duncan Archer (CLOK), Clive Hallett (BOK), Steve Whitehead (EBOR), Maya Hampshire Wright (NN), Jess Ensoll (LOC), Abi Weeds (SLOW), Alison Harding (HH), Janet Rosen (HH) and Christine Kiddier (GO) – the last two making it an England 1,2,3 in W60.

For the individual, team results and a full report by John Rye – England Team Manager click through to the Orienteering England website

Next year the event will take place in France (10 March 2019 in the Val Joly departmental park (59132 Eppe-Sauvage) located near the Belgian border where England will look to regain the trophies.

Tweet Friday 12th January 2018

New Year...New You.

If being more active is one of your New Year's resolutions, why not try orienteering?

More and more people are discovering that orienteering is a fun and challenging activity that gets them exploring the great outdoors. They are gaining new skills in finding their way in unknown terrain and crossing rough and sometimes hilly ground. You are always discovering somewhere new! It's a competitive sport with something for everyone, from 10-year-olds to grandpas and grandmas. 

The sport of orienteering offers many benefits, but its foremost attraction is that it is fun!

Here are just five health benefits of orienteering.

  • Time outdoors is great for us physiologically:
    For one it improves our Vitamin D levels. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases. The Vitamin D Council says “your body is designed to get the vitamin D it needs by producing it when your bare skin is exposed to sunlight”.
  • Increased time being outdoors with nature improves people’s health and happiness:
    Increased time being outdoors with nature has been shown to significantly improve people’s health and happiness. The UK’s first month-long nature challenge, which took place in 2015 by the University of Derby involved people "doing something wild" every day for 30 consecutive days. It showed that children exposed to the natural showed increases in self-esteem. They also felt it taught them how to take risks, unleashed their creativity and gave them a chance to exercise, play, and discover. In some cases nature can significantly improve the symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), providing a calming influence and helping them concentrate. “Intuitively we knew that nature was good for us as humans, but the results were beyond brilliant.” said Lucy McRobert, Nature Matters Campaigns Manager for The Wildlife Trusts.
  • Increased cardiovascular capacity:
    Orienteering involves walking, jogging and running, often in rough terrain. All three of these activities increase aerobic capacity and cardiovascular strength.  The Department of Health in their Start Active, Stay Active report state “regular physical activity can reduce the risk of many chronic conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, mental health problems and musculoskeletal conditions.”
  • Sharpens decision making skills:
    Orienteering offers the development of individual skills in navigating while problem solving to locate each control. Decision making is paramount: Should I go left or right? Should I climb that hill or go the long way around it? These decisions that constantly arise require thinking more than quick reactions or instinct; again, that is why orienteering is often called the thinking sport.

    Research shows even one 30-minute cardio session pumps extra blood to your brain, delivering the oxygen and nutrients it needs to perform at max efficiency. Cardio also floods the brain with chemicals that enhance functions such as memory, problem solving, and decision-making.
  • Balance between the physical and the mind
    The ultimate quest for the orienteer is to find that balance between mental and physical exertion, to know how fast they can go and still be able to interpret the terrain around them and execute their route choice successfully.
  • Interested, but want to find more about the sport of orienteering. This set of Frequently Asked Questions will help you to find out more.