Behaviour Change Tactics – Top Tips from a Run Activator Tahir Parvaz

Article by Pete Ezard, Relationship Manager for UK Coaching

As I boarded the train from New Street to Five Oaks, it dawned on me that I was a prime example of the inactivity epidemic facing this country. My meeting with Tahir Parvaz, a Run Activator with Sport Birmingham, was only a 30-minute walk from the station, yet I had taken the easy option and hopped on to the train. How ironic that my meeting was with an individual who was responsible for getting more people active and keeping them active. Conversely, Tahir himself was the epitome of behaviour change. Some years ago, Tahir had recognised a need to change his lifestyle, to become more active, lose weight, and reverse the effects of sedentary behaviour.

Fast-forward to the present day, and Tahir is fit, healthy and happy. Encouraged by others to take up running, and play football and squash, he is now
responsible for communicating those very same messages to inactive communities across Birmingham.

The backstory doesn’t end there though. In order to look after his critically ill father, Tahir quit his job in the pharmaceutical industry and became a full-time carer for six months. As his father’s health improved, Tahir decided to go back to work.

A vacancy appeared with the Birmingham Wellbeing Service to become a Run Activator, and following encouragement from his family, Tahir successfully applied for the job. A few months on, and Tahir is now a full-time Run Activator for Sport Birmingham.

Since September, Tahir has been working with a group of women from an Asian background, encouraging them to take up physical activity and specifically move them from ‘Couch to 5K’. The project has targeted 16 women, ranging from a grandmother of 55 to a 17-year-old college student. All were inactive, all had the same reservations about physical activity, and all needed to be persuaded to take the challenge on.

Read full case study here