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Holmes Place Portugal has forged a partnership with the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation to raise the issue of inactivity among the national population. Ray Algar reports.

Month of the heart’ is how Portugal uses May to encourage its citizens to embed just a little more activity into their everyday lives. Like many Europeans, the Portuguese are failing to move enough – a European Commission study from 2014 reported that more than six in 10 adults never exercise or take part in sport, ranking the Portuguese 27 from 29 countries. By comparison, Sweden topped the table with fewer than one in 10 never active. Holmes Place – which operates 19 clubs and studios in Portugal – recognised an opportunity to join the national inactivity debate by partnering with the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation. The charitable foundation exists to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for three in 10 of all deaths in Portugal. The Foundation believes small lifestyle changes can nudge people towards a healthier future by reducing their risk of heart disease and stroke.

Movement against inactivity

During May 2016, the two organisations created the campaign ‘Movement against a sedentary lifestyle’. The core idea was to develop a mechanism for those already active to help others who were not. For this one-month period, all Portuguese citizens – along with Holmes Place members – were able to ‘donate’ their activity calories to support the Foundation’s work. Calories burned were converted into complimentary club memberships, which were gifted to the Portuguese Cardiology Foundation. One million activity calories was worth one six month Holmes Place membership.

People were invited to log any physical activity that raised their heart rate, from walking the dog to taking part in a group class. Calories expended during a Holmes Place class were automatically captured using data for an average participant, while other activity away from clubs could be logged by posting a photo on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag ‘darcalorias’ (givecalories).

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