Getting more people active in our communities is a key priority for our administration and one that I have been working on alongside colleagues Veronica Jones, cabinet member for health and well-being and Wayne Daley, cabinet member for children’s services. It spans all areas of our county, and all residents regardless of age, fitness levels or health concerns. We want to help more people enjoy a physically active lifestyle and to achieve their personal health and well-being goals.
There are so many reasons why regular activity boosts your health. It can reduce the very real risk of developing serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease, and it can improve overall wellbeing and the quality of life. It’s a natural mood lifter and can help you feel better, look better and live better. Most people notice they feel better over time as physical activity becomes a regular part of their lives. Without regular activity, your body slowly loses its strength, stamina and ability to function properly. It’s like the old saying: you don’t stop moving from growing old, you grow old from stopping moving. Exercise increases muscle strength, which in turn increases your ability to do other physical activities. A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow all of us to enjoy these benefits.
So here at Northumberland County Council we are promoting the benefits of physical activity through our partners at Active Northumberland, who deliver leisure and well-being services in our leisure centres, and Northumberland Sport, our strategic lead partner for physical activity and sport in Northumberland. An ambitious £65 million pound investment programme is already underway which is set to transform sport and leisure facilities and enhance the customer experience . This includes the building of new leisure centres at Berwick, Ponteland, and Morpeth, and major investment to revitalise two centres in Blyth and Hexham, which opened last month.
In the last 6 weeks, Northumberland has hosted two major sporting events. The OVO Energy Tour of Britain cycle race which saw thousands of residents and visitors lining the route to watch world class elite cyclists pass through the county, and hundreds of school children engaged in various activities from designing cycle jerseys to participating in cycle races of their own. Then just last weekend, the 10th anniversary of the Kielder Marathon, saw a whole weekend of activity in beautiful surroundings, from running to cycling to healthy walks.
Our hope is always that more people are encouraged to get out there and give it a go themselves. So to that end