The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is encouraging participants across England to feel the benefits of regular exercise in their daily lives.
By dedicating one hour per week (and often longer) to getting active through the Physical section of the Award, young people are getting increased fitness levels and mental health benefits and developing other skills that will work in all areas of life, such as teamwork.
Young people can do anything they want to for their Physical section, so long as it gets them moving – take a look at what participants are getting up to and what they have to say about taking part.
Mia, 14, Bronze Award participant at St Francis of Assisi Catholic College, Walsall: “American Flag Football makes me a better team player. I love working with my teammates. In flag football, it’s not about winning but about taking part and trying your best.”
Isaac, 16, a Silver participant from Telford, Shropshire: “I’ve quite enjoyed all of it really, the routine of doing the physical activity, the group has also expanded so I’ve enjoyed the social aspect too. I met some top athletes my age and older and younger, the people coming, the people breaking club records, I’ve met new people by achieving a higher standard.”
“The advice I would give really is just to get involved, it’s not just physical activity, it’s a social activity too, you can join a team, football, cricket, netball, a rugby team and so for the physical it’s about getting up, getting out there and doing it, going out with mates, or doing it by yourself and getting up and having a run or whatever it is you choose. I would just say get involved really!”
Imogen, 15, a Bronze participant from Avon Valley School in Rugby: “I took part in cheerleading hoping to improve and compete in my set competitions. I feel that cheerleading has improved my stamina, fitness and well-being and I have also made good friends there and feel like I am a positive role model to younger members of the group through coaching the younger groups.”
Alyas, 16, a Bronze participant with Positive Youth Foundation, Coventry: “I really wanted my Bronze qualification as I am new from Afghanistan and my family would be proud. It’s helped me with my communication and confidence. The Physical section has been really good as I have improved my cricket skills and would like to become a cricket coach.”
Sophie, 15, a Bronze participant at East Norfolk Sixth Form College: “It’s only your mindset that stops you from doing anything.”
Jack, 15, Silver participant at Hadley Learning Community, Telford: “Doing the Physical section was tough at first, but persevering paid off. If you do feel like you are going to give up, don’t, and just keep pushing. My friends are also a lot more resilient than they were before and they want to do the same as me, they want to be out in the world and tackle new challenges which they haven’t seen before.”
Lily, 17, a Gold participant at East Norfolk Sixth Form College: “There’s no better way to clear your mind than to gallop across an open field; the exhilarating freedom it gives you cannot compare to anything I’ve experienced. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve fallen off into a muddy puddle or have knocked down a jump (and broken a pole!), but it’s what you do next that matters. Get up and try again.”
Bana, 15, a Bronze participant from Bedford Girls’ School: “To say that the physical section only improved me physically is diminishing the impact it had, as it not only helped improve my lacrosse skills but also my mindset and other important skills such as communication and teamwork.”
“A prime example of this is how previously I would feel ashamed when I made a mistake during a match, however now I would view that mistake as a learning curve. Recently, my team won the County Tournament for the first time in nearly a decade. I certainly believe that choosing lacrosse as my DofE physical was a chief reason why I played as well as I did that day and helped our team win.”
Ruby, 16, Bronze participant at Colmers School and Sixth Form College in Birmingham: “DofE helped me to improve my confidence and resilience, and it was a great experience.”
Lucy, 23, a Silver participant from East Coast College in Great Yarmouth: “I have worked on becoming more active, increasing my step count, and becoming fitter and more mindful about my wellbeing. I found that doing simple things like walking instead of taking a bus, taking stairs instead of a lift, and getting out and about with my dog, was enough for me to progress in this section and to feel better both physically and mentally.”
Daisy, 15, Bronze participant from Kenilworth School: “Doing yoga for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award helped me reduce anxiety and stress during a difficult exam season.”