A highly successful physical activity referral scheme run by Valley Leisure in the Test Valley has gained national recognition from the British Heart Foundation.
The Every Body Active programme which helps local people deal with a variety of health issues, including cancer, strokes and heart attacks is more successful than most others in the county.
In its first year of running, 86% of the people who were referred to the course by a medical professional joined the programme. 58% of those who started the 12-week guided fitness scheme finished it.
This is higher than the Hampshire average, which runs at between 40 and 50%.
The stats also show that 61% of people who finish the programme would continue to take part in regular activity that makes them fitter and feel better.
This success lead to Every Body Active being chosen as a model of good practice with the programme being spotlighted in the British Heart Foundation’s national conference on good health.
Liz Murray, community development manager at Valley Leisure, the charitable trust and social enterprise which runs most of Test Valley Borough Council’s main leisure centres, said: “We’re delighted the scheme is having so much success and that the British Heart Foundation feel it’s worthy of sharing.
“It’s great to see people using physical activity to prevent and manage long term health conditions. We’re here to support local people to ‘move more’ in order to feel better, no matter what their age, health or fitness level.”
According to Sport England research, nearly a quarter of the population are ‘physically inactive’ and 40% of the adult population do not do enough physical activity to meet the national physical activity guidelines.
Anyone who thinks that the Valley Leisure 12-week physical activity programme can help them should talk to their GP or health professional about a referral, or call Andover Leisure Centre on 01264 347100 or Romsey Rapids Sports Complex on 01794 830333 and ask to speak to a member of the Every Body Active team.
The scheme helps people gradually increase their physical activity levels and improve health and wellbeing.
It’s designed for people with chronic long-term health conditions and people who don’t move enough in their day-to-day life.
The main reasons for people being referred are obesity, falls prevention and neurological problems, such as strokes and MS.
Valley Leisure also runs specialist classes including those for falls prevention, back fitness and heart health.