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In these challenging times it has never been more important to look after our physical and mental health. Many people are embracing new ways of continuing their training, whilst others are taking the opportunity to try running, walking or cycling for the first time. Whichever group you fall into, your daily exercise has probably become one of the most important parts of each day. 

When we emerge from the lockdown and things start to return to normal, it’s important that our health and wellbeing remain a priority. We caught up with Gordon Reay from our Sport and Active Lifestyle team to find out how he and his colleagues help students to stay fit and healthy when they’re at university. He told us: “The University of Chester has everything you need to support your fitness and wellbeing goals, whether that's playing in the University Football team, discovering a new sport or using physical exercise to manage your mental health.”

Sport and Active Lifestyle manage a range of impressive facilities, including a large sports hall, hockey-specific AstroTurf, 3G MUGA pitch, tennis courts, squash courts, sprint track, grass pitches, gymnasium, 25 metre swimming pool, spin studio and fitness suite. The department is split into three distinct areas to ensure that Gordon and his team can meet the needs of all students at the university:

Athletics' Union

The Athletics' Union coordinates and supports the running of all sports teams at the university which includes organising fixtures, transportation, playing kit and equipment, and training needs for every sport. From Archery to Quidditch, Badminton to Rowing and Cricket to Volleyball, we have a team for almost every sport, and if we don’t, we’re probably linked to a local club that does!

We compete nationally in BUCS (British University and Colleges Sports) competitions, as well as in local, regional and national competitions and we are proud of the success of “Team Chester”! In 2019/20, we have won eight BUCS league titles, one Northern Cup final, four Gold, two Silver, one Bronze medal in various sports at the BUCS national competitions and we came second in the National Cheerleading Championships.

Most sports clubs have teams who play at different levels, and some don’t compete at all, so don’t worry if you’re not a first-team player. It’s really easy to sign up to any sport at the beginning of the year at our annual sports and societies fair, and all clubs offer free taster sessions. Perfect if you’ve always thought you’d be a natural at archery, but you’ve never had a chance to try! Once you’ve decided which sports you’re sticking with (and the only limit is how much time you have!), you can sign up with a low annual fee between £15 and £50 per club. 

Active Campus

If joining a sports team isn't your cup of tea, don't worry; Active Campus has you covered. This scheme is for students who just want to play for fun or get fit without joining a club. The scheme runs weekly activities (usually free!) such as dodgeball, frisbee and table tennis, as well as fitness classes, swimming sessions and virtual bike rides. Walk and talk sessions and pool meditation are great ways to unwind at the end of a day, and our couch to 5K running sessions have seen many students achieve their first running goals! We are also lucky to have a dedicated cycle track right next to the Parkgate Road campus where you can enjoy traffic free cycling for miles and miles. 

You can also join our fitness suite which has more than 100 pieces of equipment and dedicated staff always on-hand. At just £140 for the whole academic year, including two 1-1 personal training sessions per week, the fitness suite offers incredible value for money. If you need extra motivation, join us for our monthly challenges, or get involved in our monthly campaigns: 'You can Jan', 'FitFeb', 'Mindful March' and 'Active April' for a variety of different fitness classes, challenges and goals. 

Active Wellbeing Programme

Our Active Wellbeing Programme has been designed to support students to manage their mental health using a holistic lifestyle management toolkit that combines exercise and physical activity. Dedicated consultations with trained staff are central to the 12-week programme that is proven to raise self-esteem and improve confidence.

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