Doncaster Voices: How to encourage more locals to become active?

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Welcome to Doncaster Voices, your weekly forum. If you want to get involved, submit 150 words with name, title & photo to chris.page@jpress.co.uk. Your views may appear here next week when your topic is “How best can we address Doncaster’s homeless problem?”

Kraig Kelly, Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust Head Of Leisure

There are so many opportunities for people to become active, often it is just getting them to take that first step and give something new a try. We all know how daunting it can be to start something new. Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust is working with lots of varied community groups to try to tackle access to exercise and we run a number of schemes for hard to reach groups to encourage people to focus on their fitness. From swimming sessions for babies and toddlers through to our prime time sessions for people aged 50, teen fitness to family fun sessions we try to schedule activities that meet the needs of our community. We also work to get out into the community with activities for people who can’t get to us. The opportunities are there, we are working to encourage more people from the borough to become active.

Coun Nigel Ball, DMBC Public Health, Leisure and Culture Cabinet Member

When people think about being active some of the first things that spring to mind are often running, cycling or heading to the gym. These are great physical activities but being active is much more than joining a sports club or getting on a treadmill. Being active is part of daily life and by making small changes such as spending more time gardening, getting out to visit people in your local community, using the lift/escalator less or even getting off the bus one stop early can all help to get Doncaster moving more.

Levels of physical ability naturally vary from one person to another. The key to physical activity is to find something that you enjoy doing and can continue to do over a longer period. You might be surprised at how easy it is to fit some small changes in to your lifestyle.

Bill Morrison, East Doncaster Development Trustees Chair

To be more active requires all round participation. The outdoor gyms like those in Sandall Park and Quarry Park are a way forward. Community events such as mini marathons, cycle races to suit all ages and capabilities are a way to introduce activity to the couch potatoes. Business should be encouraged to sponsor such events including swimathons which in turn could be used to fund raise for local charities. In this technological age of gaming consoles and the like, people often need a reason to get up and get out, a community sponsored event with an end product would give us all a focus, a reason to participate. All of these activities can be done by families including grand parents thus creating a feel good factor that can be enjoyed by all. The health benefits would be immense and lead to savings in the health sector. A win for all.

Dr David Crichton, NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group Chair

As a doctor, one of my favourite phrases is ‘if exercise was a medicine, it would be a wonder drug’, and it’s absolutely true. There are so many benefits we can all gain in Doncaster from doing a bit more activity every day – and it doesn’t have to be at a gym. There are plenty of opportunities to make simple exercise a daily routine at home, work and at weekends in the surrounding areas. Being relatively flat, Doncaster has plenty of areas to go walking and cycling. Make it a family experience by visiting some of the local parks and green spaces, walk the dog, kick a ball around, let the kids burn off some energy on the outdoor facilities and enjoy being in the fresh air.

Moving more doesn’t need to cost you anything, but as a personal investment in your health it’s priceless.

* Why not get involved by submitting 150 words with name, title & photo to chris.page@jpress.co.uk on next week’s topic “How best can we address Doncaster’s homeless problem?” while we also welcome all your suggested future Voices forum subjects.