Mayor Andy Street will be among those using pedal power to launch the combined authority’s physical activity strategy West Midlands On The Move.
He will be part of a ‘human power station’ demonstration on Thursday afternoon (16 November) at Coventry Railway Station.
This involves exercise bikes set up to generate electricity to charge mobile phones and other devices.
The strategy will promote the wider benefits of physical activity
A formal launch of the strategy will follow at Coventry University. Speakers will explain the thinking behind the programme and the wide ranging social and economic benefits.
In keeping with the theme, delegates who are able will be asked to stand rather than sit and will be kept on the move with a stakeholder ‘speed learning’ session.
West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has produced the strategy as part of its wellbeing agenda, to promote the benefits and create an environment encouraging physical activity.
West Midlands On The Move focuses on the link between better physical activity levels and achieving the WMCA Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) social and economic targets.
Currently adults here are among the least physically active in the country - with around a third spending less than 30 minutes a week on physical activity.
The estimated consequential cost to the region is about £147m a year.
Evidence shows that economically prosperous places are also the most physically active – and points to physical inactivity leading to poorer health, reduced productivity, more isolated communities and lower educational attainment.
West Midlands On The Move was developed by the WMCA in consultation with local authorities, Public Health England, Sport England and the County Sports Partnerships.
It targets efforts where they can make the biggest impact on key priorities - including transport, productivity & skills and digital.
WMCA Wellbeing Board chair Cllr Bob Sleigh said: “Plenty of people in the region are already physically active and fit - but far too many are not and we want to target those people.
“We know that being physically active is a proven boost to mental and emotional health too.
“The big picture is that if we can get people thinking about this and making even just a small change, it will bring huge benefits for our community and economy.
“This is not about producing elite sports stars – it’s about making movement part of life, more of a habit, more the norm.
“I would urge people to take on a challenge - don’t sit still if you can move a little bit, don’t sit at all if you can stand, don’t drive if you can walk or cycle, don’t walk if you can run…”
Professor Guy Daly is Pro-Vice Chancellor (Health and Life Sciences), Coventry University, a member of Coventry Health & Wellbeing Board and represents West Midlands Universities on the WMCA Wellbeing Board.
He said: “We are delighted to be hosting the launch of the WMCA On the Move Strategy.
“The easier it is for everyone to build physical activity such as walking and cycling to work into their everyday lives, the more likely it is that we will be able to combat the challenges of sedentary lifestyles and obesity and also to tackle the environmental consequences of people driving to work.
“Coventry University, alongside the other universities in the West Midlands, recognises the vital importance that physical activity plays in promoting the health of its students, staff and the wider community.
“We’re looking forward to working with the other organisations involved in this strategy.”