Image of Max Whitlock and 6 others walking through a park

Double Olympic Gold medal winner and World Champion gymnast Max Whitlock MBE has launched the Active Essex Foundation’s 30:30 challenge to get Essex residents doing 30 minutes of physical activity every day for 30 days in June.

Max was at Basildon Sporting Village on Friday 1st June to launch the 30:30 challenge and help raise awareness of the Active Essex Foundation charity. The Foundation works with local organisations to inspire and support some of the most deprived communities and harder to reach groups in Essex to become more active, including families on low incomes, people with disabilities and those with poor physical or mental health.

Speaking at the launch, Max Whitlock MBE said: “Being active every day for 30 minutes is a brilliant way to get fit and healthy, both physically and mentally. I’m thrilled to help the Active Essex Foundation get this message out to Essex residents by launching the 30:30 challenge and am encouraging as many people as possible to give it a go.”

The 30:30 challenge, unlike other charity fitness challenges, doesn’t set any targets to beat and there are no fixed activities. Walking, cycling, and everyday chores in and around the house or garden all count. The only rules are 30 minutes for 30 days and the campaign aims to raise both awareness and funds for the Active Essex Foundation.

Currently there are 1 in 5 Essex residents who don’t take part in any physical activity or sport and the highest levels of inactivity are amongst people on low incomes, women, those with disabilities or life-limiting illnesses, and unemployed people.

Jason Fergus, Director, Active Essex and a Trustee of Active Essex Foundation, said: “The 30:30 challenge is about challenging yourself to give any kind of physical exercise a go each day during June for just 30 minutes. The idea is for it to be fun and it doesn’t have to cost anything. Many local groups, club and ambassadors for sport are getting behind the campaign and helping us to spread the word and it’s exciting to think that such a simple idea could help change lives if people feel the benefits and are motivated to fit regular exercise into their daily lives.”

Joining Max Whitlock MBE and Jason Fergus at the launch of Active Essex Foundation’s 30:30 challenge were Jean and Les Catley, aged 69 and 71 from Rayleigh, who are taking part to get back into a regular exercise routine in preparation for their daughter’s wedding next month.

Jean said, “Me and my husband are taking part in the challenge to show that anybody can get involved with physical activity, no matter where you are from or how old you are. We started the challenge a day early by taking a walk to and from our local supermarket.”

Katherine Loveday, a mum of two from Billericay, said: “’It is very easy for life to get in the way of exercising, especially if you have health issues but there is an activity to suit everyone and the health benefits are immense.”

The 30:30 website has all the information needed to sign up. See www.3030essex.com or get involved in the 30:30 challenge on social media by using the hashtag #3030Essex. For more information about the Active Essex Foundation see www.activeessexfoundation.org.