Local people met boxing hero Barry McGuigan at fun health and fitness sessions this week.

The former world featherweight champion was at Woodberry Down Youth Hub (The Edge) in Hackney with the Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy’s Boxing for Health Initiative.

The initiative, supported by the London Legacy Development Corporation and Hackney Council inspires people to think about their health and fitness by offering practical advice and exercise tips.

Barry McGuigan said:

“The event in Hackney was a great success and we are privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of the legacy that the London Olympics have created. Sport has the power to inspire all to make a real difference to their health and lifestyle and it was great to see so many people taking advantage of the Boxing for Heath Initiative”

This week’s sessions were attended by almost 100 people, with three sessions run throughout the day – a mixed group of kids & parents, followed by a women & girls session and one for lads & dads.

Each session includes a pop-up ring for non-contact boxing training, boxing specific foot work to improve agility and bodyweight conditioning circuits. There was also support on staying motivated, living a healthier lifestyle and eating right.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation said:

“Barry McGuigan is a real inspiration and his Boxing for Health initiative offers practical advice on eating well and staying fit and healthy. This summer we start the phased opening of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with the Park fully opening in spring next year, in the meantime we are working with organisations like the Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy and Hackney Council to turn the inspiration from the Games into action and deliver a lasting legacy for east London.”

Cllr Michael Desmond, Speaker of Hackney Council said:

“Encouraging people of all ages to try different sports and activities is a key priority in Hackney following last year’s Games, so it was great to see so many people giving non-contact boxing a try. It was also good to see one of our newest youth centres host an event that aims to involve all the community and get everyone thinking about what we can do to live more healthy lives.”

The Barry McGuigan Boxing Academy is running Boxing for Health sessions in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.

Gold Challenge was also on site signing people up the Take 12 challenge. The challenge will inspire 12,000 people from the Olympic Host Boroughs to complete either 12 hours of physical activity or cover 12km over a 12 week period.

So far, more than 1,000 people from Hackney have already signed up for the Challenge.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is situated in some of the most deprived boroughs in the country. Levels of obesity are higher and life expectancy is lower than London and national averages, as is the amount of physical activity people living closest to the Park do in an average week.

The Legacy Corporation is committed to helping people improve their health and well-being and ensuring that those living closest to the Olympic Park are at least as healthy and active as the rest of London.