In the first national event of its kind, hundreds of unpaid carers from around the UK will join Carers UK’s Healthathon on Saturday 30 April, for activities designed to boost their health and wellbeing.
The Healthathon marks the culmination of Carers UK’s Carers Active April campaign. The all-day event with five and half hours of free, wide-ranging and inclusive sessions via Zoom, will allow carers to join in at different times from their own homes.
According to Carers UK’s research[i], carers’ wellbeing can be negatively affected by caring and they are significantly less likely to be physically active, impacting their physical and mental health. Three-quarters of carers said they were less able to do as much physical exercise as they would like, but that being physically active made them feel good about themselves.
The day will be kicked off with a warm-up by the legendary Mr Motivator, known for his upbeat energy and engaging approach to encouraging anyone wanting to get more active at home.
Mr Motivator said:
“I’m delighted to be a part of the Healthathon event which will cap off a really important Carers Active April campaign month. It’s vital that we raise awareness and support carers to be as active as possible so that their physical and mental health and wellbeing is improved. I look forward to getting everyone moving and in the mood for the different physical activity and wellbeing sessions during the Healthathon!”
The day will offer a wide range of physical activity and wellbeing sessions for carers to try, a chance to meet others and to gain hints and tips from professionals and experts. Sessions include a strength and balance work-out, Tai Chi movements for wellbeing, tips for healthy eating on a budget, online tea and chat, a Bollywood dance session, relaxing yoga, and a physical activity goal setting and motivation session, which will include the chance to hear from a carer who will talk about how physical activity has improved her wellbeing.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:
“We’re delighted to be running the Healthathon as an enjoyable way for more unpaid carers to find some activities that they can take part in, that boost their wellbeing, help connect with other carers and that they can fit around their caring responsibilities.
“Unpaid carers have had an extremely challenging time during the pandemic, and many have seen their own health and wellbeing significantly impacted by their responsibilities. Caring for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill can make it very difficult for carers to prioritise their own health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis, but it is so important.”
Hayley has been caring for her husband for three years, after he experienced a spinal injury. She discovered how physical activity could help her mental health earlier in the COVID pandemic when she felt overloaded and had to take time off work. She said:
“I now go to a local gym class each week with a friend. I also signed up for a 5k. The exercise makes me feel fitter, generates natural endorphins and makes me feel happier.”
Carers Active April is a month-long campaign as part of Carers Active, run by Carers UK and funded by Sport England through the National Lottery. The month has shone a light on the importance of providing access and opportunity for unpaid carers to be physically active in a way that works for them.
For online activities, tips and motivation from other carers sharing their own stories to getting more active at any time, carers and their families can visit Carers UK’s Carer's Active Hub to find out more.
[i] About the research: This was a mixed methods research project which included a quantitative phase consisting of analysis of over 2000 responses to the State of Caring 2019 survey as well as a qualitative phase including focus groups and interviews with 37 participants. This was followed by a pilot project, testing the ideas from the research with 27 participants.