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News article

Active ageing projects at York St John University aim to boost physical and mental health post-pandemic

Published: 21 February 2022

  •   Featured
  •   Campus & Estates
  •    Community
Three men on a rugby pitch reaching for a ball

YSJActive, York St John’s sport, exercise and wellbeing team, are offering a range of activities aimed at getting people of all ages and abilities engaged in fitness. They hope to help the wider community recover some of the health levels lost during Covid.  

Two of the projects are aimed at the over 50’s, while Walking Rugby offers sessions for older players and anyone who can’t play the contact version of the sport.  

The YSJActive team are launching the projects now as winter comes to an end and restrictions lift, hoping that people will feel ready to participate in face-to-face activities.   

Walking Rugby is a simple version of touch rugby that is ideal for older players or those who cannot play contact rugby. It is now being offered in York for the first time. 

The sessions launch on Friday 4 March and will be run weekly at Haxby Road in partnership with York City Knights. Knights Ladies star Grace Field also works as an exercise and wellbeing assistant for YSJActive, she said: “This year the rugby league world cup is coming to York, and we are looking for as many ways as possible to engage the community in the sport.  

“There is currently no provision in the area for Walking Rugby, so it seemed a good idea to launch this right now. There is definitely a gap in the market for something like this, especially in a city like York which has such a strong Rugby League heritage and an up-and-coming club.”  

York City Knights Foundation Delivery Manager Adam Prentis said: “As a Foundation we are always been keen to explore new opportunities to engage with a wide range of projects for individual of all ages and abilities. Programmes like this have our 100% backing, and with our partners at YSJ I am sure it will be a success.  

“I would urge anyone that is interested, or may know someone else this would benefit, to get in touch and look to attend one of our future sessions’  

Growing Active is a free allotment group which runs every Wednesday morning at the Haxby Road Allotments. Aimed at the over 50’s, it is currently on a break for winter and will restart on 9 March. The sessions offer a relaxed, informal environment where people can engage with the allotment and spend time with others. 

Nadine Davies from the York St John University grounds team runs the group. She said: “I am a passionate allotmenter of 10 years as well as a gardener for the University and have lots of fun ideas for ways we can get the most out of the plots and make our time there productive and enjoyable.  

“As we go through the year, we will learn about common allotment pests and problems and how to manage them, identify weeds and wildflowers, and talk about ways of using our produce imaginatively in the kitchen 

“The allotment is a lovely site, surrounded by bird boxes and habitat, and with a wildlife pond area to enjoy. I hope it will be rewarding for everyone involved." 

While for anyone who would like to take more exercise but feels intimidated by a usual gym setting, there are the Getting Active gym sessions. Running every Thursday morning in the Gym on the Lord Mayor’s Walk campus, they are relaxed sessions for older people of any level of fitness and exercise experience, with instructors on hand to help. Participants are able to socialise after the session in the canteen. 

Find out more about Healthy Active Ageing here or call 01904 876804 

If you’re interested in Walking Rugby please email Grace Field 

Contact us

Communications team

York St John University, Lord Mayors Walk, York, YO31 7EX

01904 876 466

To contact us out of hours, phone 07812 365 499