Sheffield Telegraph Column: Exercise drive moving up a gear

29 March 2016...Sheffield has secured ?100,000 from England Athletics to install new running routes in the City.Helen Elmore and her daughter Mia try out one of the routes through Ecclesall Woods. Picture Scott Merrylees
29 March 2016...Sheffield has secured ?100,000 from England Athletics to install new running routes in the City.Helen Elmore and her daughter Mia try out one of the routes through Ecclesall Woods. Picture Scott Merrylees

Sheffield is a city on the move. Move More is an ambitious plan to make our city the most active in the UK by 2020 and is one of the projects to come out of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine.

As a founding partner of Move More and the NCSEM in Sheffield, we want to make it easier for everyone to be physically active as part of everyday life. We know the huge range of benefits this can have, not just in terms of physical health, but also mental health.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? So how is Sheffield International Venues, which is part of the not-for-profit Sheffield City Trust, helping to achieve this?

One of our biggest successes is the Exercise Referral Scheme which provides 12 weeks of personalised exercise for people with long-term health conditions, from heart disease to diabetes, and now helps 1,500 each year, receiving referrals from 100 city GPs.

We’ve also supported the launch of the first National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine site in Shiregreen. The facility at Concord Sports Centre combines NHS clinical services, exercise specialists and health professionals to use physical activity to treat a range of chronic health conditions. The vision for the centre is that patients are prescribed exercise as medicine.

In partnership with Sheffield United and Wednesday, we’ve launched Steel City Fit Club. Over 12 weeks, participants take part in low-impact fitness sessions at Bramall Lane and Hillsborough, as well as education sessions on leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining their fitness after completing the course.

We have engaged over 100 people in the programme and there were reductions in blood pressure and body fat. Many have also continued to our walking football and swimming sessions.

In Shiregreen and Wincobank we’re reducing social isolation by bringing people together through physical activity. In the last 12 months, our Funding for the Community programme has secured more than £180,000 for 23 under-represented groups.

We’ve put on sport for transgender participants, activities for people with respiratory conditions, after-school activities in Wybourn and Gleadless, physical activity for dementia patients, women-only swimming, lifeguard training and first-aid sessions for the Yemeni community… the list goes on!

There’s still a long way to go, and it will take time and effort, but we’re 100 per cent committed to working with the Move More partners to increase participation in physical activity to 150 minutes a week or more.

That’s just 22 minutes a day, or two 11-minute exercise sessions a day.