New campaign urges people to be active, whatever their health

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A new campaign is being launched encouraging people with health conditions to be more active.

Liverpool City Council’s Public Health and Physical Activity and Sports Development teams are working in partnership with Sport England and NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to provide activities and support targeted at those aged between 40 – 75 years.

It is the latest phase of the Fit for Me physical activity campaign, which has reached over 100,000 people across the city since its launch in 2016.

The campaign is aligned to the national We Are Undefeatable campaign – led by 15 of the UKs largest health and social care charities and supported by National Lottery funding through Sport England. Fit for Me offers the opportunity to help motivate people to improve their health and wellbeing, quality of life and encourage positive changes to their lifestyles.

It features inspirational stories of local people with health conditions and how becoming active in a way that works for them has helped with their mental and physical health.

The partners are working with organisations such as local charities, community, faith and voluntary organisations plus .NHS providers to help spread the message

Visit the Fit For Me website and find out what you can do.

Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Matt Ashton, said: “Being more active is one of the best things you can do for yourself, even if you’re healthy. But it’s especially useful if you’re living with a health condition. Activity can often help manage symptoms and protect your health.

“We know that a significant number of people in the city living with a health condition do not meet the physical activity guidelines.

“Many also lack confidence to become active, are unsure what activities are suitable for their condition and feel being active is not for them.

“This campaign aims to address these issues because there are lots of simple tricks you can use to build activity into your daily routine, and any activity can help you feel better.”

Dr Maurice Smith, a GP in South Liverpool and member Liverpool CCG’s Governing Body said: “The recent coronavirus pandemic has highlighted risks for people with underlying health conditions.

“All the evidence is that being active and healthier gives you a better chance of recovering faster from COVID-19 and other viral illnesses, as well as being good for your mental wellbeing.”

Sarah Ruane, Strategic Lead for Health at Sport England, said: We are delighted to be able to support Liverpool City Council with this important campaign. As well as communicating the benefits of being active for most people living with a health condition, the learnings from the campaign will support those commissioning and designing physical activity services. This includes coaches, fitness instructors through to healthcare professionals and anyone who inspires and supports people with health conditions.

CASE STUDIES

Ron Duncan is in his 70s and has Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a condition that inflames his airways. This makes breathing hard for him. But he’s not one to give in: “You might think, “I’m not fit enough” or “I don’t have time. But almost anyone can become more active. It’s safe for most conditions. And starting with just 10 minutes a day can help you feel healthier, stronger and calmer. You can be more active anywhere. At home, in the park or in the street. Even a bit of hoovering counts in my book.” Ron takes a simple and safe approach. He says: “Start easy and do what works for you.” Among other things, he recommends “taking a 10 minute walk each day. Or just get off the bus a stop early.”

Naheed Tahir from Mossley Hill (pictured top) is 53 and lives with anxiety. “About four years ago, I had a breakdown and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For the sake of my family, I knew I needed to sort out my mental health. Even now, I find that keeping active is the best way to manage my symptoms and flashbacks. Feeling better always comes back to physical activity. My mental health is directly linked to how I feel in my body. As soon as I’m active, that makes me much better mentally – much, much more positive, even during lockdown. Now I go out of my way to make time to be active. I do some physical activity almost every day, just to keep myself feeling better. Naheed’s advice is: “Start small. If you’ve got 5 minutes to sit down on a chair and just move one part of your body, your arms or legs, that’s great. You can build from there. Also think about why you want to do it. What’s your big reason? Have you got someone who relies on you? Do you need to be fit and healthy for them? Do you have children or grandchildren? Would it make their lives better if you were more active? Would you have more fun too?”