Health scheme hailed for helping slimmers

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A Sheffield health scheme has been hailed in a national report for its work in helping thousands of people overcome chronic conditions.

Sheffield City Trust’s Exercise Referral Scheme has been included in a recent Public Health England report.

Out of almost 1,000 health projects across the country, Sheffield City Trust’s scheme, which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year, was one of just six to be selected for the Exercise Referral section as an example of best pratice.

It uses physical activity to help people manage conditions including coronary heart disease, muscular skeletal diseases, respiratory illnesses, diabetes and weight problems.

Patients are referred by their GP for 12 weeks of tailored physical activity with Exercise Referral and Cardiac Rehabilitation specialists. They take part in low impact exercise such as circuits and chairobics. Around 60 per cent of patients continue with exercise at the end of the 12 weeks.

More than 15,000 patients referred from 107 surgeries have transformed their lives through the scheme, which launched at Concord Sports Centre in 2005 and now operates across five leisure venues in Sheffield.

Craig Potts, from Shirecliffe, lost 16 stones by taking part in the scheme.

He said: “At 30 stones, simple tasks like tying my shoes were a struggle. My body was a ticking time bomb. With physical activity I lost more than half my body weight and it’s saved my life.”

Dave Birds, the trust’s Group Exercise Referral Manager, said: “We’re extremely proud to have been included in this national report highlighting best practice across the country. The Exercise Referral Scheme is a real success story.”