More movement now needed on Sheffield’s fitness plan

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News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

Good progress is being made on a scheme to turn Sheffield into the country’s fittest city - but more effort is needed to sustain the project’s momentum in the coming months, according to a new report.

Earlier this year members of influential organisations including Sheffield City Council, the NHS and universities drew up the Move More Plan, which sets out ways of increasing levels of physical activity among residents.

The project - called Move More - was set up to create a legacy after the 2012 Olympics, as well as being sparked by concerns over the damaging effects sedentary lifestyles have on people’s health, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Proposals included an overhaul of cycle lanes and footpaths, more free sport activities and a drive to boost community safety.

A report to a meeting of Sheffield’s Health and Wellbeing Board provides an update on the work completed so far as part of the city’s Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Ninety people have been trained to be ‘Move More ambassadors’, encouraging others to take part in more physical activity, while schools have been signed up to a pilot in which pupils’ movement levels are tracked with sensors.

Another pilot has been running focusing on the health of NHS workers, while work is well under way on a revamp of Concord sports centre in Shiregreen, one of three new facilities as part of the city’s National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

But Dr Ollie Hart, GP and chair of the Move More Board, says the ‘active environment’ proposals, including the cycle lane and walking route changes, ‘lack penetration into the key departments in the council and private sector’.

“This area stands to have a significant impact in creating environments that encourage and facilitate movement,” said Dr Hart.

“The project needs champions at senior level in all organisations to sustain the initial momentum generated.”

The Move More plan’s aim is for Sheffield to be the ‘most active city in the UK’ by 2020.

When it was announced, Dr Hart said it ‘tested how much support’ there was for such an ambition.