How is Japanese radio helping the over 55s get more physically active?
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How is Japanese radio helping the over 55s get more physically active?

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A new collaboration between Sport England, think tank Demos and care and housing provider Anchor Hanover looks to get the over 55s in the UK more physically active – using a model that has proved popular in Japan.

Called "10 Today", the scheme provides a series of easy, accessible and enjoyable 10-minute exercise broadcasts – for both radio and online – which can be followed almost anywhere and at any time.

Inspired by Radio Taiso, an evidence-based national daily exercise broadcast on Japanese radio, 10 Today has been produced and led by older people, for older people.

Radio exercises are popular in Japan and parts of Mainland China and Taiwan and are often performed to music and guidance.

They were first introduced to Japan in 1928 as a commemoration of the coronation of Emperor Hirohito. Following a hiatus in post-war Japan, they were reintroduced by NHK radio in 1951 with the support of the education ministry, health ministry, the Japan Gymnastic Association and the Japan Recreation Association.

The 10 today campaign in the UK will use Radio Taiso as a template and aims to utilise it to increase physical activity among older people across the country, helping to reduce social isolation and improve the physical and mental wellbeing of participants.

"10 Today is an innovative and experimental approach to support older people to get and stay active in a way that’s convenient, accessible and fun for them," said Sport England's executive director for tackling inactivity, Mike Diaper.

“It’s not just about the physical benefits as this project aims to bring people together to reduce loneliness, strengthen mental health and resilience to enable more adults to lead happier and healthier lives.”

Sport England is investing £233,766 in the programme, which will see the 10 Today sessions be broadcast free on YouTube, as well as local radio stations Bradford BCB 106.6 FM and CHBN Radio 100.8 FM – community stations in Bradford and Cornwall.

In addition, hundreds of older people across the country are being trained as 10 Today ‘champions’ to bring people together to take part in physical activity.

"Inactivity in later life is an urgent issue that cannot be overlooked any longer", said Anchor Hanover CEO Jane Ashcroft. “Everyone should have a chance to live life to the full, regardless of age.

"It’s imperative that our older generations are able to exercise in a way that suits their needs, to improve their wellbeing and reduce strain on the NHS, which is a lifeline for so many.

"We’re proud to have many of our customers and colleagues across Anchor Hanover leading the way and embracing the significant benefits of 10 Today."

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A new collaboration between Sport England, think tank Demos and care and housing provider Anchor Hanover looks to get the over 55s in the UK more physically active inspired by a Japanese initiative.
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