The over 50’s in Hertfordshire are being told ‘It’s Never Too Late to be Active’ in Hertfordshire County Council’s new Public Health campaign to encourage residents to enjoy a more active and healthy lifestyle.
To launch the campaign, primary schools across the county have invited family, friends and neighbours to join them in their Daily Mile, an initiative which has been running since 2016.
Physical inactivity costs the Hertfordshire health economy more than £16million a year and is the fourth greatest cause of death and disability, causing 1 in 6 deaths in the UK.
Yet one in four Hertfordshire residents does less than 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, and many more are not meeting national guidelines of 150 minutes a week.
To help get Hertfordshire moving, organisations across the county are joining forces to launch the ‘It’s Never Too Late to be Active’ campaign.
All residents that sign up receive a free local activity pass for themselves and a friend, which will entitle them to a free taster of some of the wide range of enjoyable activities and classes provided by our district councils and leisure centres across the county.
They can also get personalised support to help them become more active and enter a prize draw for an iPad, Fitbit or £100 clothing voucher.
Hertfordshire County Council’s director of Public Health, Jim McManus, said: “We know that children are the best inspiration to motivate older adults to be more active so we are very grateful to all the schools and young people who are helping us launch our ‘Never Too Late’ campaign.
“Being active is nature’s prescription as it has so many physical and mental health benefits whatever our age; yet a quarter of 55-64 year olds are completely inactive and over 40% are not meeting the recommended guidelines of 150 minutes activity a week. These figures are much higher for those aged 65+.
“We hope that this campaign will inspire older adults to move more, and help all ages feel the benefits of regular activity and having fun together!”
Staying active keeps our body strong, mind sharp and gives us more energy to keep doing the things we love. It also boosts confidence, improves our mood and is a great way to meet people and have fun.
Stephanie Noble took up netball at the age of nine years old when she was picked for the school team. Now a 67-year-old retiree with two grandchildren, she has switched to walking netball so that she can continue playing for many years to come.
She said: “When I left school, my first job was at a commercial union in Rickmansworth. What prompted me to go for that job back in 1966 was the fact that they had two netball teams for employees!”
Stephanie stopped playing traditional netball at 62-years-old, and took up walking netball at the William Penn Leisure Centre. She said: “I have a great circle of friends at walking netball and I love seeing them when we play. I have stayed good friends with a lot of people through the years because of netball.
“If you play a team sport, you get the social side of it. It’s nice to spend time with others and get to know new people; it gives you an uplift and something fun to do after work. It has definitely made me a lot happier.”
Stephanie plays walking netball once a week and also swims every week. She says anyone at any age can start a new activity and enjoy it: “At walking netball, there is a lady who is 80-years-old, there’s people who haven’t played the game since school, some people have arthritis, low energy and a range of other health conditions – but they still come along and have a good time.
“For anyone who is feeling nervous about exercising or joining a sport, don’t be – just go along! Whatever sport you end up choosing, if you think you might like it give it a go. There are a lot of older people who are active and play sports, and they will encourage you, invite you in and make you feel welcome. You won’t feel left out at all.
“Being active helps you to feel better, especially if you live on your own, it’s a good reason to get out there and try to do something. You’ll see a number of benefits in no time.”
Hertfordshire GP Dr Richard Pile said “Physical activity is vital to help prevent and manage a range of long-term conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, diabetes and depression.
“Becoming more active can help you stay healthy, strong and independent for longer and reduce the need to be admitted to hospital.
“It really is never too late to be active, and there are some great opportunities on offer in Hertfordshire, from free walking groups and exercise classes at local leisure centres, to the occasional swim or bike-ride or even gardening.
“We are very pleased to be supporting this important campaign and would urge everyone to get involved.”
The Never Too Late campaign is part of Hertfordshire’s Year of Physical Activity. The campaign launches from 23 April 2018.
To find out more and sign up to the campaign, visit: www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/nevertoolate . Alternatively you can drop into your local library or call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044.