Katie Bulmer-Cooke: Time for Sunderland to get more active

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This week I headed down to Mowbray Park with my mam and Heidi to try out a new event in the city, called Niall’s Miles.

It’s headed up by The Foundation of Light with the aim of getting more families up, out and being active together, and you know me - I love anything like that!

As we went into the park and started to get closer to the meeting point at the bandstand, I started to think ‘are we in the right place, I can’t see many people’...and I was right.

There were only around 10 people who showed up to join. I was shocked.

Here we are in one of our city’s lovely parks, on a canny day weather wise, Samson and Delilah, the SAFC mascots were there, there were free giveaways (Heidi got a back pack, pens and a voucher to hand in to her school)...and did I mention it was free?

Come on, Sunderland! There are so many great opportunities to get involved in physical activity across the city for free or at a very low cost, why aren’t they being supported?

I’m by no means suggesting that we all don our leotards and run a marathon, but as a city we need to do more if we want to change our stats.

Recent research shows that 68.9% of people in our city are overweight and therefore at greater risk of such things as heart disease and diabetes. Arrrggghhhh!

And 29% of us don’t even manage 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise a week. I’m sorry, but that is crazy. If we want our kids to live healthier, happier lives then things need to change.

Now before anyone starts thinking I want to turn us all into fitness freaks...I don’t.

I understand that not everyone wants to be a gym bunny – I just want us all to look after ourselves more and take advantage of all the fantastic things going on in Sunderland, like Niall’s Miles, the BIG events run by Active Sunderland, Park Run and the brilliant parks and beaches we have.

Now I’ve got down from my soap box... I went to London on Thursday, as I was asked to speak at the UK Active National Summit.

Also on the bill were the government ministers for sport and public health, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, Sally Gunnell, the founder of Park Run... and me!

It’s fair to say I was canny starstruck! I do like going to London, but I definitely couldn’t live there, it’s too mad!

But despite it’s madness, there are three things I love about London.... how easy it is to eat healthily on the go?

There is a Pret on every corner and loads on independent little cafes. It’s so easy to travel around.

They’ve got this new technology that now allows you to swipe through the turnstiles of the Underground using the ‘contactless pay’ feature on your bank card...you don’t even have to queue to buy a ticket now.

Finally, I love that anything goes. You can wear mad outfits, have crazy hair and no one even bats an eyelid.

Part of the UK Active National Summit was about the future of technology and how it will be used to help people become more active.

The futurologist (yes, that really is a job title!) who presented the session gave us a glimpse into the future, and how technology will be 20 years from now.

We can look forward to our phone screen being projected onto our arm, with a chip embedded under our skin. WOW!

And wait for it...we will be able to print food...that’s right, you’ll be able to print an edible pizza, so I’m told...me and my mam are still trying to get our heads around that one.

So, that’s it from me this week. As always, I’m keen to hear your views on Twitter, @KatieBulmer1.

Have a great day.