16 June 2021
Anchor Hanover launches Get Set, Cycle challenge
Nation is urged to get on their bikes to maintain the physical, mental and social benefits of exercise post-lockdown by joining Anchor Hanover’s Get Set, Cycle challenge.
New research exposes the transformative power of physical activity during the pandemic, and the importance of keeping up these good habits post-lockdown to maintain and improve physical, mental and social wellbeing for people of all ages.
In response, Anchor Hanover, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing for older people, has launched an inclusive cycling challenge, Get Set, Cycle. Backed by former Olympian Colin Jackson, the challenge aims to unite the nation with Anchor Hanover’s residents in a shared love of cycling, with a collective goal of cycling 2,102 miles – the same distance as the Tour De France – to help maintain wellbeing and strengthen community connections following a year of social restrictions.
You’re never too old
With the pandemic bringing about significant changes to many people’s lives, people of all ages found comfort and purpose in staying active. Anchor Hanover’s research found that a third (32%) of the nation are exercising more since the pandemic began, with 67% of older people having either maintained or increased their levels of exercise since March 2020.
The benefits of staying active in a challenging time were especially clear for older people, with 59% saying it helped them to stay physically healthy and improve their mental health (compared to 56% of the public). A further 44% of older people said exercising during the pandemic gave them a sense of purpose and fulfilment. Proving the benefits for all ages in a challenging time, half of the public said it helped take their mind off things and gave them something to do.
Cycling beyond the pandemic
Whether for getting around or to stay active, cycling in particular has proven to play an important part of many people’s lives during the pandemic. The sales of adult bikes skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic*** and cycling was the second most preferred form of exercise throughout the pandemic, only behind walking.
Showing positive signs that this trend is here to stay post-pandemic, one in five (21%) of us plan to use our bikes more in the future, in place of other types of transport.
Act now to maintain good habits
However, the research reveals that the nation is at a crucial turning point when it comes to maintaining the good habits developed in lockdown. Despite over half of the nation (53%) thinking more about their own health and wellbeing since the start of the pandemic – and only 5% thinking less about it – there are signs that we are already turning away from the benefits of exercise and cycling.
One in five (22%) of the public worry that as restrictions continue to lift, they won’t have as much time to exercise – and one in five (21%) are already exercising less.
Inclusivity, not isolation
Anchor Hanover’s research also highlights the value of rebuilding and strengthening community connections post-pandemic, and the role that physical activity can play in this. Reassuringly, 89% of the public think it’s important that no one in our society is left feeling isolated, with a similar 89% thinking that everyone in society deserves the chance to do the things they enjoy.
Encouragingly, exercise was found to have the power to unite people in a shared love. Nearly half (45%) of the public say that they would be more motivated to exercise when doing it with other people, and 51% admit that they are more likely to keep up good habits if they are doing them with other people.
Get Set, Cycle
Anchor Hanover’s Get Set, Cycle challenge aims to address these key trends by providing an accessible and inclusive way to keep up positive fitness habits and enjoy the benefits of cycling, whilst uniting the nation through a shared passion following a year of social restrictions.
88% of the public believe it’s important for older people to have access to fulfilling activities. Get Set, Cycle was inspired by how Anchor Hanover’s residents embraced physical activity during the pandemic. Having access to specialist technology that enabled residents in care homes to cycle, regardless of their ability, had a particularly positive impact on wellbeing. This technology includes adapted bikes, specialised foot pedals that mimic the movement of cycling, and Memoride – a virtual reality tool that can project local roads and locations from residents’ past – allowing them to literally cycle down memory lane.
Over the summer, residents and colleagues will be cycling as many miles as possible – physically or virtually by using this technology. The public is encouraged to join the challenge by getting on their bikes or bike machines or walk, to help reach a collective goal of 2,102 miles– the same distance as the Tour de France, which returns later this month.
The public can join the Get Set, Cycle challenge by posting the number of miles they’ve cycled on social media, using the #GetSetCycle hashtag. Athletics World Champion and former Olympian Colin Jackson is backing the challenge. He said:
During the pandemic, many of us embraced fitness more than ever before and it’s important that we continue to stay active. As an ex-Olympian, I can vouch for the benefits of exercise! I’m thrilled to be supporting Anchor Hanover’s Get Set Cycle challenge and clocking up my own miles over the summer and I look forward to seeing people of all ages and all abilities, across the country getting involved. It’s truly inspiring to see people coming together to achieve a shared goal, especially after a challenging year. I think Get Set, Cycle is a brilliant way to remind ourselves of the power of community.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor Hanover, said:
Across our services we see the transformative power that staying active has on our residents’ wellbeing and sense of fulfilment. Regardless of their previous experience, or the mobility challenges for some in later life, residents have embraced specialist technology enabling them to cycle, and this has inspired the Get Set, Cycle challenge. It’s a fun way to keep up good fitness habits and bring people together, following what has been a challenging year for all. We’re calling on people across the country to get involved and help us cycle the distance of the Tour De France and log their miles, cycling or walking, using #GetSetCycle.
Selaine Saxby MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Cycling & Walking Group, said:
The All-Party Group on Cycling and Walking has, for a long time, highlighted the enormous potential of cycling to improve the health and wellbeing of older people through tackling physical inactivity and in turn, improving mental health. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, this could scarcely have been more important.
Ruth Cadbury MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Cycling & Walking Group, said:
Anchor Hanover’s Get Set, Cycle gives residents the chance to stay active and enjoy the fun of clocking up their miles whilst helping to strengthen the community bonds which are so crucial during these times. I urge people around the country to join Anchor Hanover’s residents in this challenge and log their progress using #GetSetCycle.
Malcolm Wright (77), lives at Anchor Hanover’s Nelson Lodge care home and began competing as a professional cyclist when he was 20 years old, cycling for Southend Wheelers in road races across the country, but had to give it up early due to a biking accident. He said:
I got into cycling because walking is too slow! I adored racing on my bike and was so disappointed when I had to give it up after my accident. The Get Set, Cycle challenge will be great fun, and a chance to relive my glory days doing what I did best. I’m excited to see the country get involved and help us reach our goal!
You can find out more about Get Set, Cycle and how to get involved at: anchorhanover.org.uk/getsetcycle.