Record levels of active people in England – Sport England Study Reveals

Record levels of active people in England – Sport England Study Reveals

The highest ever levels of activity have been recorded by Sport England’s latest Active Lives Adult Survey, with 1 million more people physically active than when the survey began.

According to Sport England, data gathered from 180,000 respondents (aged 16+) in the 12 months from May 2018 to May 2019, 1,015,700 more people are active compared to when the survey started, in 2015.

That takes the total number of active people – those doing at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week – up to 28.6 million.

The number of inactive people – doing fewer than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week – is down to 11.2 million, a decrease of 131,700 since 2015 and the lowest figure ever recorded by the survey.

Hannah Attenburrow from Beyond the Mud, runs Pilates classes and workshops as well as mountain biking coaching and guiding. Hannah has been working with Havant Borough Council, as part of their Get Up and Go program, to offer Pilates classes for the over 55’s in the borough and has seen her classes go from strength to strength with many participants who starts in January still attending one or more classes weekly. Classes run from Havant, Waterlooville, Bedhampton and Hayling Island.

Pilates is great for building strength and coordination which are two things that diminish as we get older. Pilates focuses on posture, strength, mobility and flexibility from head to toe, moving the body in complete flowing movements, not isolated parts.

Hannah said;

‘The Great thing about Pilates is it is suitable for anyone no matter your age, fitness of flexibility. Each exercise can be done at different levels of intensity with additional modifications to cater for anyone with specific muscular or joint limitations.’

One participant who has been coming since January said;

‘Get Up and Go has provided the incentive to try out Pilates risk-free.  

I was unsure about undertaking this form of exercise as I have a very severe left-sided kypho scoliosis – a deformity of my spine and I know from previous experience how easy it is to end up bedridden if I twist or turn too harshly. The pilates class has gradually improved my mobility.

Hannah was amazing, allowing for my difficulties and even sending me a link to exercises specifically for my condition.  She never pushes me beyond what I can comfortably do and will suggest an alternative exercise to those for the class if needed.

Hannah checks us regularly to ensure we are doing the exercises in the correct position and frequently reminds us of our breathing, something I forget easily!

Maddison, too, is very supportive and I love going to the classes where incidentally, I met up with somebody I first worked with in 1974!

A lovely group, mostly women but with a few men, too.  Don’t hold back, please try it out very soon!

The Get Up and Go Program in the Havant borough offers many activities to over 55’s including golf, guided walks, chair fitness, Pilates and yoga classes.

Guest Post – Carrianne’s Quantocks Adventure

Guest Post – Carrianne’s Quantocks Adventure

At Beyond the Mud we want to enable as much riding as possible! Which is why we started guest blog posts, these blog posts let you hear about riding in new places from other passionate mountain bikers and hopefully give you some ideas on where you could go on your next mountain bike adventure. This latest blog post is by mountain biker Carrianne, we hope you enjoy reading and thank you Carianne for sharing your adventure with us.

Outdoor loving, late thirty-something, Mum to two boys. I got into mountain biking in my early twenties, and I love the opportunity for exploration and friendship riding bikes has provided. From cycling North to South Wales off-road for a friends 50th to adventures nearer to home and getting lost in the woods trying to find new trails! Now I have a young family, mountain biking allows me to occasionally escape and have some all important ‘me’ time as well as having the fun of sharing my love of bikes with the kids and finding new adventures together as a family.

I don’t manage to get out on my mountain bike as much as I would like, and opportunities to ride anything other then local trails are even rarer! So when I had a child free day on the same day that some friends were heading to the Quantocks I was there!

Parking in the lay-by on the A39 just before entering the village of Holford, the first climb of the day was a bit of a challenge for legs still stiff from the car journey! It was 5km and about 320m up to the main ridge of the Quantocks. The reward was the descent down Hodders Combe, 4km of swoopy singletrack heaven and a big smile on my face! It had been a long time since I’d done such a long, natural descent and I was pretty nervous at the start – but I quickly got into the flow and it was a real confidence boost with nothing too steep or technical.

The Hodders Combe descent dropped us almost back to where we started in the village of Holford and from there it was a 3km, 300m climb back up to the ridge where we stopped for a quick refuel before the descent into Weacombe. This was another lovely flowing trail, starting in the open moorland before dropping down into the wood – again nothing too technical or steep just 2km super flowy fun.

The third climb of the day was 2km and 100m to near the top of West Hill and the descent into Smith’s Combe. Smith’s Combe was the shortest, at just over 1.5km, and most technical downhill of the day with a tricky loose rock section in the middle which I was super proud of myself for making it down – it wasn’t pretty but I didn’t walk!

The next section was a bit of a slog, with tiring legs, we followed the contour around the northern edge of the Quantocks before heading up a drag of a fire road climb back up to the open ridge and past Bicknoller Post for the final time. Crossing across the whole of the top of the Quantocks gives you a chance to admire the spectacular views – out towards the Bristol Channel and for miles inland.

The 5km final descent, Lady’s Combe, back to the car was super fun, starting in the woods dropping down to follow the path of a stream – making line choice all important! The trail zig-zagged the stream, taking a right-hand turn, up the final little uphill of the day, before popping out back where we started.

Loved getting out, doing a proper ride on some fantastic singletrack. The Quantocks offer a lot of quality riding in a small area, hopefully won’t leave it so long until we return!

TOP TIP: Take a packed lunch – there isn’t anywhere to buy food on the route.

RIDE STATS: 30.74km | 3:20:22 | 863m

Check out the route on Strava.

Written by Carrianne Priddy

Mountain Bike Coaching Tip – Heavy Feet, Light Hands

Mountain Bike Coaching Tip – Heavy Feet, Light Hands

You may think the best way to improve your riding is a lighter bike… more travel or other fancy up grades. Yes, these may make your bike lighter, more able to soak up bigger impacts etc but they don’t make YOU a better rider.

A simple way to improve your riding is to start looking at your mountain bike technique. Today I wanted to talk to you about your feet and hands. You ride your bike mainly with your feet, standing up on the pedals in the ‘ready’ position, pushing your weight into them during cornering and driving the pedals forward as you pop off a drop off. Making your feet heavy allows you to control the bike and makes the bike work for you.

The other thing to mention is your hands, when we first start out on a bike, if things get a little hairy we tend to over grip clinging on to the handle bars for dear life… this doesn’t help you with your balance and control on the bike. Imagine you have your favourite chocolate bars in your hands if you over grip you will turn them to mush, so be light on those handlebars.

Mountain bikes are very capable, the best way to allow your bike to work is relax, bring your weight down into your heels, keep the ball of your foot on the pedal to create a stable platform and think about pushing yourself forward with your heels. Breathe out when you get to trail sections that worry you or find a good song to sing so your brain goes into autopilot.

It’s a great feeling once you flow effortlessly down the trails, but it takes practise keep at it and let us know how you get on by commenting below.

Starting your mountain bike adventure

Starting your mountain bike adventure

Starting your mountain bike adventure

mountain bike coaching

You don’t need mountains to go mountain biking. Any off-road trail can be an exciting adventure, a brilliant way of seeing our beautiful country, at the same time as getting fit.

Mountain biking is an exhilarating sport which everyone can enjoy. With some basic skills in your tool kit you can really make the most of your new-found hobby! Your position on the bike will make a big difference to how the bike handles and how you feel on the bike.

Mountain bike trail surfaces can include rocks, roots, ruts, sand or mud. The variable terrain and the obstacles are all part of the fun, but can be unnerving to beginners. Being in the right body position helps you get through tricky sections of trail.

The first thing you need to master is the ‘ready’ or ‘attack’ position.

mountain bike beginners coaching

This is the position you will use when going down singletrack trails to keep your feet out of the way of obstacles but also to allow the bike to move underneath you and grip the ground.

Ready position:

  1. Body weight:You want to stay centered over the bike laterally, but keep your weight shifted back over the rear wheel. (The steeper the descent, the further back you shift your weight).
  2. Bum:Off the saddle this allows the bike to move underneath you. Also creating a wider base for you to move around the bike than when you’re sitting down.
  3. Feet:Keep your pedals level, heels down pushing the pedals forward. This keeps your weight balanced and helps ensure you don’t catch a pedal on a rock.
  4. Arms and legs:Keep them loose – they’re your shock absorbers. Your knees and elbows should be bent. Staying relaxed and loose on the bike will also help you react quicker.
  5. Hands:Maintain a light grip on the handlebar, don’t tense through your shoulders. No death grip!
  6. Head and eyes:You should be looking down the trail at least 3 metres ahead so you can react to the changes in the trail.
  7. Fingers: Feathering your brakes with one finger, trying not to over brake in the corners.

Picking a Line:

The rougher the terrain, the more you have to let the bike float underneath you, this is where keeping in mind the points above and staying in the ready position will help you feel relaxed and comfortable on the bike. Your wheels will move in different directions as you hit bumps, and that’s OK. Just keep your body upright, relax your grip and keep the bike pointed down the trail.

Mountain bike coaching for beginners

Another key point is to look where you want to go, not at the things you want to avoid!

Pick the path of least resistance down the trail. The hazards you will need to watch out for will depend on your skill level. A log that will stop one cyclist may be a fun bunnyhop for another. Generally, look for loose rocks, deep sand, water, wet roots, logs and other trail users and animals.

mountain bike coaching

Pick your line: scan ahead for hazards by looking about 3 – 7 metres down the trail. Then, move your eyes back toward your tire. Doing this up-and-back action allows your eyes to take in lots of information. Knowing hazards ahead of time can help you adjust your balance and pick a line around them.


Braking on a mountain bike should be a controlled and considered. Most of your control braking power comes from your front brake, but grabbing a handful of front brake will send you doing cartwheels. Instead, lightly feather the brakes, and do so evenly on the front and back brakes. Avoid sudden, fast squeezes to help prevent skidding.

When braking stay in the ready position. Move your hips back, drop your heels down and keep a slight bend in your knees and elbows.

When to Brake

When approaching a turn, brake before you hit the turn, and then let your momentum carry you through. This allows you to focus on your technique through the turn and exit the turn with speed. Then apply the brakes ready for the next trail obstacle.

MTB cornering

Momentum is your friend when getting up and over obstacles on the trail. Keep your momentum and you will often roll over or off certain features easily, if in doubt stop and look at the feature before riding it.

I hope you have enjoyed this article on body position and braking for beginner mountain bikers. If you would like to improve your mountain biking, like with any sport, getting a coach can mean you improve quicker and don’t pick up so many bad habits.

Check out our coaching options here.

How to Help Combat the Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries

How to Help Combat the Most Common Mountain Bike Injuries

“During the past three years, researchers from Napier University have been conducting a massive research project with Enduro World Series participants collecting information about mountain bike injuries, and more importantly how to prevent them. “The survey was carried out by Sports Scientist Dr Debbie Palmer of Edinburgh Napier University and covers the full breadth of participation, from our recreational rider base right through to the upper echelons of elite athletes.”

The report comprises of two separate pieces of research. The first questioned 2,000 EWS-racing athletes, from 46 countries, across 10 EWS races, recording how, when, and where they were injured. Highlights include the most frequently occurring injuries and those injuries that resulted in the most days spent off the bike recovering.

The findings are rather fascinating which low concussion rates and more injuries during the 2016 XC mountain bike race in RIO in 2016 than in the Enduro World Series events!

enduro world series report findingsRead the full report here.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that shoulder and clavicular injuries are the most common. These injuries typically involve a long recovery – 25 days on average.

So, how can enduro rider’s improve their strength around their shoulders to decrease this injury risk.


(Picture thanks to EWS report)

What makes up your shoulder?

The shoulder is an extremely complex joint made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm) as well as the associated muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The humerus loosely attaches to the scapula in a ball and socket joint that allows the arm to rotate in a circular manner or to hinge up and away from the body. The joint must be mobile enough to do a wide range of dynamic movements (like throwing), but also stable enough to lift heavy objects and push and pull. This compromise between mobility and stability means the muscles need to be strong and stable to protect this joint.

The major muscles involved with movement of the shoulder are the four rotator cuff muscles and the deltoid. These muscles allow the upper arm to rotate in and out, move forward, out to the side, and behind the back.  Tendons are the bands of fibrous connective tissue that attach these muscles to the humerus.

Here are our top 5 shoulder stability exercises to help you combat those injuries.

  1. Rotator Cuff External Rotation with Band
    1. Palms facing up hold the band out in front of you
    2. Keep your elbows tucked in
    3. Forearms parallel to the ground
    4. Breath in, on the exhale open the band to the side
    5. Hold for the inhale
    6. Exhale bring arms back to the centre
    7. Repeat 5 times
      1. To increase strength add in pulses once the band is opened to the side

rotator cuff exercise

  1. High to Low Row
    1. Attach a resistance band to something sturdy at or above shoulder height. Be sure it is secure so it doesn’t come lose when you pull on it
    2. Get down on one knee so the knee opposite the outstretched arm is raised. Your body and lowered knee should be aligned. Rest your other hand on your raised knee
    3. Holding the band securely with your arm outstretched, pull your elbow toward your body. Keep your back straight and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down as you pull. Your body should not move or twist with your arm, engage your core muscles to stop this from happening
    4. Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10
  1. Reverse Fly
    1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Keep your back straight and bend forward slightly at the waist
    2. With a light weight (bean cans of full water bottles will do) in each hand, extend your arms and raise them away from your body.
    3. Do not lock your elbow. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do so.
    4. Do not raise your arms above shoulder height
    5. Return to start and repeat 3 sets of 10


4. Press Up (Bi-cep)

    1. Start standing, bend your knees and put your hands on the floor so they are under your shoulders
    2. Lift your knees off the floor so you are in a sloping position, don’t stick your bum in the air or let your hips drop (keep your knees on the floor for a modified box press up)
    3. Hands facing forward slowly lower your nose towards the floor, elbows moving outwards
    4. Engage your core, (pull your belly button towards your spine) to help protect your lower back
    5. Inhale at the bottom, exhale and push yourself back up into the sloping position

5. Press Up (tri-cep)

    1. Start standing, bend your knees and put your hands on the floor so they are under your shoulders
    2. Lift your knees off the floor so you are in a sloping position, don’t stick your bum in the air or let your hips drop (keep your knees on the floor for a modified box press up)
    3. Hands facing forward slowly lower your nose towards the floor, elbows moving towards your hips, arms grazing the side of your body
    4. Engage your core, (pull your belly button towards your spine) to help protect your lower back
    5. Inhale at the bottom, exhale and push yourself back up into the sloping position

press up