Man running

Public encouraged to get active with free NHS running app

Following another successful year, the NHS is once again encouraging people to download its Couch to 5k app to help kickstart people’s ‘New Year, New Me’ resolutions.

Over six million runs were completed using the app last year with 8,600 people running on the app on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, making last Christmas an even busier period than 2021.

In the midst of a YouGov poll that indicated that 10% of adults in Great Britain have either already cancelled or are strongly considering cancelling their gym memberships, the DHSC has highlighted how the free app is a good alternative to keep active whilst the cost-of-living-crisis continues to grip the nation.

Public Health Minister, Neil O’Brien, said: “The start of a new year is a great time to make healthy lifestyle changes and the free NHS Couch to 5K app is a brilliant way to get fit and healthy for free, as people look to exercise for less due to the rising cost of living.

“Keeping fit can have a positive impact on our health, preventing risks of developing serious illness such as heart disease and diabetes – helping to reduce pressure on the NHS. I hope people will be inspired by the progress of hundreds of thousands of others and will give the app a try – it costs nothing and could be the best resolution you make this year.”

Runners are given motivational support by the app in the form of various celebrity coaches, videos indexing their progression, articles signposting ways of overcoming setbacks and ruts, as well as the opportunity to invite family and friends on ‘buddy runs’ to get more and more people active.

To make the app, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) teamed up with the BBC back in 2016 and both continue to work in conjunction with each other to encourage as many people as possible to take control of their own health as we enter the New Year.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer and joint lead for OHID, Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy, added: “It’s brilliant to see so many people have kept active through using the NHS Couch to 5K app in 2022 and I hope the trend continues into 2023.

“With over six million runs completed this year, every run represents someone taking a small step towards improving their health, getting a bit of me-time and progressing to that 5km goal. If you do one thing this new year, get moving and download the Couch to 5K app.”

NHE March/April 2024

NHE March/April 2024

A window into the past, present and future of healthcare leadership.

- Steve Gulati, University of Birmingham 

More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of health sector leaders responsible for delivering the UK's health strategy across the NHS and the wider health sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for industry leaders to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation. 

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

National Health Executive Podcast

Ep 42. Leadership in the NHS

In episode 42 of the National Health Executive podcast we were joined by Steve Gulati who is an associate professor at the University of Birmingham as well as director of healthcare leadership at the university’s Health Services Management Centre.