Conservative-run Wiltshire Council's fitness programme helps more than 3,000 residents improve their health

Conservative-run Wiltshire Council's fitness programme helps more than 3,000 residents improve their health

Conservative-run Wiltshire Council's Active Health programme has helped more than 3,000 people to take steps to help them get back to full health in the past year.

The programme, which works with people with a range of health conditions referred by their GP or healthcare provider, has seen a 34% increase in referrals for people with cardiac conditions and a 13% increase in referrals for falls prevention.

Now in its fifth year, Active Health is a 12-week physical activity programme that enables people to access suitable and safe exercise.

Instruction is provided by a specialist offering support, encouragement and motivation throughout the 12 weeks, to encourage and increase confidence so that individuals can enjoy and benefit from physical activity.

Participants can also take advantage of reduced membership fees for Wiltshire Council's leisure centres for up to a year.

In addition to the 12-week general referral programme, Active Health specialist classes are also available. These include falls prevention, exercise after a stroke, cardiac rehabilitation and a long-term conditions class specifically for people with Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

Conservative Wiltshire Councillor John Thomson, cabinet member for leisure, said:

We're proud of the positive difference that the Active Health programme is making to the health and wellbeing for people in Wiltshire.

Increasing physical activity in a carefully managed way can make a huge improvement to those with an existing health condition, and can also help to prevent further health issues.

This programme helped more than 3,000 people last year, and we look forward to helping many more in the future.

Case study

When 76-year-old Angela, who lives in the north of the county, was referred to the 12-week programme, her goals were to be able to walk without a stick and to be able to be more active with her grandchildren without getting out of breath.

After attending a 12-week programme at Springfield Community Campus in Corsham, Angela lost two and a half stone, 13cm off her waist, and 11cm off her hips. Her lung capacity has improved and she no longer walks with a stick.

Angela's mental wellbeing has also improved, and she is particularly delighted that she is able to wear smaller clothes. She said:

I feel so motivated to continue keeping active due to seeing amazing results and the benefits you get from Active Health.

In order to be accepted on the Active Health programme, you must be referred by your GP or health professional. To find out more about the courses and eligibility, click here.

by Hollis Butler,