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Using technology to improve ‘Your Body, Your Life’ with Aneurin Leisure Trust

People in Blaenau Gwent improved their fitness, digital skills, confidence and self-esteem thanks to a Fitbit project developed by Aneurin Leisure Trust.

Aneurin Leisure Trust is responsible for leisure, learning and culture in Blaenau Gwent. It wants to have a positive impact on the physical, mental, social and economic well-being of local people.

Many people living in Blaenau Gwent need support with basic digital skills, but the Trust felt that formal ICT classes might be off-putting for some people with low confidence. They decided to encourage people to use technology through practical, everyday activities.

How

Six ladies who regularly attended the Trust’s Learning Action Centres were invited to take part in a six-week project called Your Body, Your Life. The project aimed to boost their fitness, confidence and self-esteem, as well as digital, literacy and numeracy skills.

They were given free membership of a local leisure centre and access to a personal trainer for the duration of the project. They were also given a Fitbit (loaned by Digital Communities Wales) to use with their smart device. The goal was to give these ladies all the tools to make a life change.

Impact

Your Body, Your Life had a range of impacts. The ladies involved agreed that their well-being had improved significantly. Using Fitbits and smart devices was of huge benefit to the participants:

  • The devices meant they weren’t reliant on their personal trainer to keep them motivated and provide them with advice.
  • They tracked their activity levels through the day, so they could see how they were getting exercise through their normal activities.
  • They learnt how to use the internet to find healthy recipes and make better diet choices.
  • They made new friendships through swapping health tips, finding new websites and having group chats on social media.
  • Their families also benefitted as they shared their digital skills and cooked more healthily.
  • As their digital confidence increased, they were able to use technology, such as live chat and GPS, in other areas of their lives. The result was further improvements to their mental, social and economic well-being.