Meet Bill Swanton, Senior lecturer in Simulation at Warsash Maritime Academy. He is an example of man at Southampton Solent University with a demanding job yet he manages to fit activity into his day and reaps the benefits of a healthy and happy life in and out of work! Our Health Spark team interview Bill to find out what he does to keep active.
After 32 years sailing the world’s oceans on ships and submarines for the Royal Navy, Bill Swanton’s intrepid nature found a new adventure on land: he braves a weekly Pilates class where ladies far outnumber men. The payback is a two year practice that has helped heal his back. His lean frame sits astride one end of a bench, sparks of nervous energy about to propel him either off the end or straight to his next activity.
“You can bring sport into your social life…fly a kite with the family, play cricket…something that’s got to be fun,” he advises.
The maxim ‘move it or lose it’ must have been uttered with 55-year-old Bill in mind: when not cycling 14 miles to and from work each day, he can be found in the gym three times a week, cycling two to three hours at weekends, or even
playing the tuba in a brass band at local fetes.
“It’s good for the lungs,” he enthuses about the brass band practice.
As a child he was inspired to take up cycling by watching the Milk Race – a UK cycling event which came through
his home town in the Midlands during the 1960s. Today his inspiration is Olympic cyclist, Chris Boardman.
When he does sit still, it’s usually to sit and read at lunchtime while he munches a homemade quiche or cottage pie or a cheese sandwich – though never with white bread.
As he laments the lack of suitable sporting role models for young people, he is aware of his own influence on less active colleagues as he recalls teasing them during a recent (Solent Health Spark) mobile blood pressure check at work: “…you won’t see your pension!”
Teasing aside, he understands human nature when he admits to sometimes dropping off from his active
schedule for a short spell. “Don’t treat sport as something elite…go throw a ball…use simple things like skipping ropes, play hopscotch, throw a ball against a wall or play rounders,” he says.
Ever the pragmatist, Bill Swanton is living proof that an active lifestyle couldn’t be simpler and is certainly fun – he wouldn’t do it otherwise.
Prostate Cancer – A Few Facts
• Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and is the second largest cause of male cancer
deaths in UK
• Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer and over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate
cancer every year
• 1 in 8 men will develop prostate cancer in their life time
• A Prostate Cancer UK survey of men aged over 45 showed that 70% knew nothing about their
prostate or symptoms of prostate cancer
(Source: Prostate Cancer UK)
If the gym is not your thing, then cycling is a great way to get you active and outdoors for fun or as a form
of transport – to and from work – that won’t pollute the environment. It couldn’t be easier to get cycling at
Southampton Solent University:
• The Cycle to Work Scheme offers staff a saving of up to 32% on a new bike and accessories
•The Bicycle Users Group Solent (BUGS) connects you to the cycling community and provides regular updates
• Bike Doctor events for basic bike tune-ups
• 1-2-1 cycle training to boost your confidence and help you feel safe on the road through My Journey Southampton
• Once you’re proficient you may like to connect to Southampton Solent Road Cycling Club to find out about easy mid-week rides for beginners and more challenging rides at the weekends
• Recycled Bike Sales – restoring and selling bikes that have been abandoned on campus
• Donate Your Old Bike – your opportunity to feel good by donating to us so we can help someone buy an affordable bike and get active!
Meanwhile, while you’re being active, connecting with others, learning something new and noticing the
world from your bike you can add to your happiness and well-being by making a donation to help raise
funds for men’s health
Dates for your diary!
Our Health Spark team have 2 Movember Health Check events coming up at Southampton Solent University and Warsash Maritime Academy: