Third Annual National Fitness Day Friday 27 September

Last Updated: 24/09/13 11:58am

National Fitness Day returns on Friday with founder Jan Spaticchia expecting a massive increase in participation as the event builds towards getting a million people exercising for half an hour in the next 10 years.

Spaticchia, the chairman of Energie Group, runs the event in conjunction with UKactive, Change4Life, Sanofi and Teenage Cancer Trust with the aim of getting people "more active more often."

It now enjoys the support of almost 500 fitness clubs nationwide and Spaticchia is expecting huge growth from last year, which saw 6000 people aged between 5 and 93 get involved.

"We anticipate 30,000 getting involved this year," he said.

"Our ten-year target for National Fitness Day is to get 1m people active for half an hour on the last Friday of September and if we can do that we can make a dent on the planet.

"Fitness saves lives and the sooner we realise how much this industry can save the National Health Service and the sooner we realise prevention is part of the cure, the sooner we'll start making a difference on the nation's health."

One of the mechanisms used to promote National Fitness Day UK is an initiative called the 'Empower Half Hour'.

"We encourage people to focus on getting active for just half an hour, we call it the Empower Half Hour," Spaticchia explained. "It's about getting active, getting your heart rate up and getting out of breath for half an hour."

Spaticchia has a very personal story regarding his involvement with Teenage Cancer Trust.

"National Fitness Day was created with the simple objective of getting people more active because to our astonishment that there was no such day in the UK and we felt this was a travesty," he said.

"It's designed to get more people more active more often and it's designed to raise money for a great charity which I'm very passionate about in Teenage Cancer Trust.

"I got involved with them when I lost my daughter Robin at 19 to cancer. I felt if we are going to do something like this, why not do it for a good cause and so we set up the event in aid of Robin's fund at the Teenage Cancer Trust."

Despite pioneering National Fitness Day, Spaticchia said PR company Perception were also instrumental in bringing the event to life. He also paid tribute to the other organisations involved.

"We've been successful and we wanted to give something back, but National Fitness Day does not belong to us it belongs to the industry and the people of Great Britain," he said.

"Energie was the founder of National Fitness Day but we don't see it as our day, we see it as an industry day.

"UKactive's affiliation with it is probably the most important and they sponsored it from day one.

"We were the catalyst and the creators of it but with UKactive's support we have managed to get many of our contemporaries in the industry involved."

Many high profile athletes and celebrities have also pledged their support to National Fitness Day and its founder says this is a sure sign the event is heading in the right direction.

"It's immensely satisfying when people like Paula Radcliffe tweeted to her 100,000 odd followers that they must get involved in National Fitness Day," he added.

"To have someone like that jumping on board unsolicited without us encouraging her gives me a warm feeling.

"If celebrities are seeking us out then we must be doing something right."

For more information visit www.nationalfitnessday.com