A new physical activity strategy has been launched for the county which sets out a bold, innovative ambition to encourage every resident in Northumberland to be more active for life.
Whilst the Northumberland natural landscape presents significant opportunities for local people across Northumberland to become active, many communities across Northumberland face diverse health, social and cultural challenges in doing so.
These challenges associated with the rurality of the county, access to services and higher levels of social and economic deprivation, mean that in Northumberland, almost 3 in every 10 people are classified as inactive. This means that they do not achieve at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity in a week, which includes walking, cycling or any kind of exercise where their heart rate increases, and they are mildly out of breath.
Facilitated by Northumberland Sport, a multi-agency approach was developed to support local people overcome these wide ranging challenges. This involved Northumberland County Council; Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust; Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group; Active Northumberland and a wide range of community and voluntary organisations.
Increasing physical activity levels, especially amongst our inactive communities will bring many benefits, which this strategy is designed to support including lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease; several types of cancer; a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes; improved sleep; support to control body weight; a 30% lower risk of dementia and improved mental wellbeing.
“Inactivity is a complex issue and changing behaviours is at the heart of this strategy – but there are no quick solutions, which is why tackling inactivity should be everyone’s business. Activity levels can fluctuate significantly at different stages of people’s lives for a variety of reasons, which is why this strategy has adopted a life course approach, recognising the significant benefits of tackling inactivity across all ages.
Physical activity is important for our personal health, wellbeing and vitality. It also makes an important contribution to our communities by bringing people together socially, building cohesiveness and adding to a sense of place and local identity. Being active adds to our individual and collective potential to live longer, happier, more fulfilling and successful lives.”
“We firmly believe that our residents should be able to enjoy physical activity, whatever their circumstances or abilities. Northumberland offers so many fantastic opportunities for an active lifestyle with a beautiful coastline and countryside and many superb sports centres with highly trained staff.
We should all be aiming to incorporate some form of physical activity into our daily routine and by doing something that we enjoy, be it sport, gardening, walking the dog, hiking, cycling or even dancing, then we are much more likely to stick at it.”
“Physical activity plays a pivotal role in maintaining good health and preventing ill health. In fact, it has been said that if a medication existed which had a similar effect to physical activity, it would be regarded as a wonder drug or miracle cure.
“Through this strategy we are placing physical activity at the very heart of the preventative health agenda by educating and supporting our communities to lead healthier and more active lives.”
The launch event held at Macdonald Linden Hall Golf & Country Hotel was hosted by BBC Look North presenter and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland Carol Malia.
As well as launching the strategy at the event Northumberland Sport launched their new Community Champions Grant Scheme aimed at supporting individuals to develop the skills, or overcome the obstacles, to enable them to establish new activities which help support more people in Northumberland become and remain physically active.
For more information on the scheme please visit our funding section.
For further information on the Northumberland Physical Activity Strategy please visit www.moreactiveforlife.co.uk