A campaign supporting people with long-term health conditions to lead an active lifestyle is being extended across County Durham.
Following a successful launch in Ferryhill and Chilton last year, Durham County Council’s We Are Undefeatable campaign is now helping communities in East Durham to move more and improve their health and wellbeing.
East Durham was chosen because of a high proportion of people living with a long-standing health condition, with efforts set to focus on Easington, Blackhall, Peterlee and Horden.
Cllr James Rowlandson, Cabinet member for resources, investment and assets, said: “We are delighted that more residents are able to benefit from the We Are Undefeatable campaign. It is so important that we support everyone to be as active as they can, promoting better physical and mental health.
“One of our key aims is to help everyone in County Durham to live a long and independent life. Having seen the benefits of the campaign in Ferryhill and Chilton, we look forward to supporting more residents to lead a more active, healthy and happy lifestyle in the east of the county.”
To support residents, activity packs containing exercise bands, a booklet of exercises, DVD, and water bottles to use as hand weights, are being distributed through targeted community centres. The Make Your Move DVD, offering inspiration and advice on how to move more at home, is also available to borrow from libraries. This has been created by the leading health and social care charities behind We Are Undefeatable and supported by National Lottery Funding from Sport England.
Other opportunities for physical activity are also being promoted across the area, including the Mental Health Swims at Seaham. The group meets at The Slope Beach, Seaham Marina, on the last Sunday of each month for a cold-water dip to help improve their mental and physical health.
The Peterlee Pavilion also provides a varied programme of sport, wellbeing and physical activities to encourage people to become more active.
Meanwhile, training is available to support those who live and work with people who have long-term conditions. The training aims to spread the message that the benefits to activity outweigh the risks, giving people confidence to start the physical activity conversation.
One resident to benefit from a more active lifestyle is 64-year-old Elaine, from Peterlee, who lives with ulcerative colitis. She also suffers from arthritis in her knees.
Elaine is a regular at Peterlee Pavilion and has joined the Peterlee Active Community Exercise Scheme (PACES), which provides low impact, social exercise sessions for adults.
Having retired four years ago, Elaine decided to join a local exercise group to get into a routine and support her health.
Elaine said: “The group was so friendly and welcoming. I found it hard at the beginning as I hadn’t done anything for such a long time, but little by little I built up and now come to a group every day.
“Since starting, my ulcerative colitis has not flared up and the combination of losing weight and exercise has helped control the arthritis in my knees. The feel-good factor is amazing, and the social side has been a great bonus as we meet for teas and coffees outside the group and go for nights out too. I have more energy and feel fitter now than I have for years.”
For more information, visit www.durham.gov.uk/weareundefeatable