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Thursday 6 April 2017 

Sporting heroes join ‘Bring a Ball’ campaign to boost the nation’s health 

Health and life insurer Vitality launches UK-wide ‘Bring a Ball’ campaign to inspire the nation to get active through ball sports
Joe Root, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Maro Itoje among sports stars supporting the campaign
Research from Vitality shows small changes in physical activity can improve life span by more than three years

Sports stars, including England Cricket captain Joe Root, Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill and England Rugby’s Maro Itoje, have thrown their weight behind the new ‘Bring a Ball’ campaign launched by health and life insurer Vitality. The campaign aims to encourage the nation to be active through playing ball sports. The sporting heroes, who also include footballers Theo Walcott and Jordan Henderson, and England Netball coach Tracey Neville, will be starring in a series of videos revealing how playing ball sports helped to kick start their careers, as well as their healthy lifestyles.

The ‘Bring a Ball’ campaign has been launched following research* from Vitality which shows that making small improvements to their lifestyle and behaving as an ‘Everyday Athlete’ can improve a person’s life span by more than three years. Based on analysis of 6,600 members over the course of 12 months, Vitality found that previously sedentary people who increased their activity levels to the Government recommended 150 minutes a week saw their life expectancy boosted by more than three years (3.1 years). 

Further research conducted by Vitality** found the main barriers preventing people from taking part in sport or exercise include time constraints (31%), cost (21%) and lack of enjoyment (19%). To overcome these barriers, the campaign encourages people to take part in fun ball sports and to share photos of their friends and family playing games. Vitality will also be giving away various sports balls throughout the summer months, and giving the public a chance to upgrade their old, worn out equipment. 

Joe Root, Vitality Ambassador and ‘Bring a Ball’ champion, said: “The ‘Bring a Ball’ campaign is a great way to encourage people of all ages to get more involved in sport, as well as spreading the message about the benefits of health and wellbeing. This campaign shows that rather than committing to a gruelling fitness routine, people can improve their health and have fun at the same time just by bringing a ball for a kickabout or knockabout at their local park.” 

Nick Read, Commercial Director at Vitality, said: “With the clocks going forward and the evenings becoming lighter, now is a fantastic time for both adults and children to get outside and be more active. We know that making small improvements to our daily activity levels can make a big difference to our overall health, and one way of doing this is to play ball games with friends and family. We are thrilled to have such an amazing group of sporting heroes supporting this important campaign, and with their help we hope we can inspire the nation to ‘Bring a Ball’.” 

To view the video of sports stars supporting the Bring a Ball campaign, click here

Notes to editors

*Analysis of 6,600 members over the course of 12 months using Vitality Age, the online assessment (questionnaire) that measures aspects of wellness, including exercise, nutrition and stress, to reveal members’ physical body age compared to their actual age.

**Research conducted among 2,000 male and female 11-65 year olds across the UK in September 2015.