Due to the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a significant reduction in engagement in sport and physical activity locally with national lockdowns resulting in the closure of leisure facilities and limiting opportunities for residents to be active, which has had an impact on the health and wellbeing of our population.
Luton Let’s Get Active campaign aims to encourage children and adults of all ages and abilities to get fit and offer reassurance that sports and physical activities can be conducted safely, especially when undertaken outdoors. It will help residents to build on positive habits developed during the national lockdowns such as walking or cycling and support those who have become inactive to get them moving again.
We appreciate it can be challenging for some people to find an activity that’s right for them, because they may have a disability, or having to manage a long term health condition or have caring responsibilities.
To help residents get started the council and team BEDS&LUTON have collaborated with a wide range of community and voluntary organisations to develop an online database of physical activities and sessions already taking place across Luton.
To find an activity near you or for advice and information go to the Healthy Luton web page at www.teambedsandluton.co.uk/healthyluton. Here residents will be able to locate a range of free and low cost activities suitable to meet their needs including sessions for older adults, people with disabilities, children and families and women only activities.
If you’ve been inactive for many months, start off slowly by simply doing a short walk. A daily brisk ten minute walk is faster than your average stroll and can make a huge difference to your health; it gets the heart pumping faster, can make you feel better, more energetic and improve your mood. Over time, brisk walking can help to lower the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. As extra support you can download the free Active 10 app which shows how much brisk walking you’re doing, and set goals and provides tips to keep you moving.
As part of the Luton Let’s Get Active campaign monthly challenges will also be set to help keep residents motivated. As May is National Walking Month hosted by Living Streets, the challenge to residents is to try 20 minutes of walking per day to boost mental wellbeing and reduce risk of preventable conditions such as heart disease and depression. For tips on how to fit in 20 minutes of walking each day visit www.livingstreets.org.uk/try20
Cllr Khtija Malik, portfolio holder with responsibility for public health and wellbeing said: “We are committed to reducing health inequalities and improving quality of life for all our residents as part of our Luton 2040 vision for the town. If you want to get active and need advice on taking your first steps to getting fit and healthy contact Total Wellbeing Luton, an integrated service providing accessible and inclusive opportunities to improve your physical and emotional health.
“Getting active doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg! Walking is free you don’t need any special clothes or equipment just comfortable shoes and is one of the easiest ways to increase your activity levels. With just 10 minutes a day of brisk walking you can achieve huge health benefits. Luton also has a number of parks and great open spaces perfect for going on walks and some have outdoor fitness stations and equipment which are also free to use. For extra motivation walk with a friend or neighbour or join a walking group. I challenge you to take the first steps to a healthier you!”
Clare Fitzboydon, Director, team BEDS&LUTON, said: “We are delighted to support this exciting campaign. Movement and physical activity plays a key role to improve lives and build community resilience, so what a great way to motivate those who want to either, begin or build on their physical activity journey. We can’t wait to play our part ‘Luton Let’s Get Active!”
Helen Barnett, Chief Executive of Active Luton, said: “The award of over half a million pounds to support Luton’s leisure centres from the government’s National Leisure Recovery Fund means that we are able to look at tailored programmes and incentives over the coming months to encourage people who are most in need of support to seek to improve their health and wellbeing. As well as some excellent value offers, Active Luton will be looking at improving access for people on low incomes, targeted sessions for people with health conditions and disabilities and women-only sessions, among others. We also have the excitement of the re-opening of Lewsey Pool this summer so that the local community resume their favourite pool activities.”
For residents on a low income the Go4Less Advantage card provides a heavily discounted rate at Active Luton's leisure centres, allowing access to group fitness or swimming for only £2 during off peak times and is available to people receiving a range of qualifying benefits- for more information on applying for a card visit www.activeluton.co.uk/go4less-and-concessions