Doncaster Voices: How can Doncaster area become fitter, not fatter?

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Welcome to your Doncaster Voices. If you want to get involved, submit 150 words, name, title & photo to barbara.craythorn@jpress.co.uk and your views may appear next week when the subject is “What are your Dome highlights over almost three decades? ”

KRAIG KELLY, HEAD OF LEISURE FOR DONCASTER CULTURE & LEISURE TRUST

There really is so much that people can do to focus on their fitness levels. Starting out can be daunting but setting realistic goals can make a real difference as can telling your family and friends what you are doing because then they can offer support. Getting outdoors and active with family and friends can be a great first step and this can be anything from taking a walk in the local park to playing sport. It is important that exercise and diet go hand in hand and the NHS has some excellent recommendations for balanced diets, avoid fad diets as these may yield quick results but they tend to lack long term sustainability.

“If your job involves lots of sitting down, make sure that you stand up and move around regularly. Utilising and embracing wearable technology to record and monitor you activity can really help with this.

“We are very fortunate in Doncaster to have some great facilities for people to be able to swim, play sports and use the gyms with teams who are geared up to provide beginners with professional advice this will help you to set and achieve measurable goals. My best bit of advice is try it, there are suitable activities for all ages in Doncaster.

BILL MORRISON, EAST DONCASTER DEVELOPMENT TRUSTEES CHAIR

A good thought and possible. Start with a reduction in the number of fast food outlets or at least reduce the opening hours. Until we change our eating habits fat but not fit will be the norm. In the current economic climate subsidised gym memberships would help also more family time at local swimming pools to encourage families to exercise and socialise together. Reward schemes, for example five visits to the gym / pool and you get one free would be a useful tool. It works for the coffee shops. That’s why they thrive while we get fatter and less fit. Outdoor gyms are a great way to enjoy exercise at no cost, in fairness local councils are introducing more of that kind of facility but we need more. Communities could come together to promote exercise in the form of kids sports ,cycling, swimming. All family friendly.

DR RUPERT SUCKLING, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH AT DONCASTER COUNCIL

Making people fitter is a difficult challenge, it’s all about making healthy lifestyles easier for people. That’s what our ‘Get Doncaster Moving’ campaign is all about – making those little changes that can have a big difference in your life. Doncaster has a lot of great parks and open spaces and I’d encourage everyone to get outdoors, be active and take notice of the world around us. It can be as easy as going for a ten minute stroll! If you’re not sure where to start, why not give one of the many short walks organised as part of the Doncaster Walking Festival a try, details of guided walks or routes that you can download are available online at www.doncaster.gov.uk/walking

Staying fit and healthy is easier than trying to recover fitness and health, and even simple steps can make a big difference. Research shows that regular physical activity can help to prevent and manage over 20 chronic conditions and diseases, including reducing the risk of heart disease by up to 35% and the risk of diabetes by up to 40%.

LAURA ANDREW, UNIVERSITY STUDENT

I must admit i struggle to keep fit in Doncaster. Even though I’m a member of the Xercise4less gym, which is great value for money. I very rarely go. I agree that as a town much more energy should be focused on healthy life styled. But it is not only food that is the problem. Alcohol is one of the biggest contributors to Doncaster’s bad health record. I think more money should be invested into the negative effects of booze and into the health services surrounding this topic. I also think that it would be prudent to share this message with the children in Doncaster as child obesity and health in our area is not the finest. However the choice to be healthy is subjective and down to the individual. People often need a push to get off the sofa. We should be encouraging people for wanting to try not for failing in the past.

JONTI WILLIS, DONCASTER RESIDENT

To regain and maintain a healthier local society requires attention to three key areas that are inextricably linked. Diet, exercise and lifestyle. To have an effective intervention all three need to be tackled as one issue rather than three seperate. There are many Fast Food places in the town. Some are quite good at offering healthy food options but many are less so. Without trying to legislate the less healthy ones out of business we should be more effective from a licensing perspective in encouraging the more health conscious food outlets. Exercise is key to health and there are many, seperate health and sports clubs around town that people of that persuasion might join. We need to help and target those that are not of that persuasion though: perhaps a borough wide “Exercise Passport” that all clubs and gyms sign up to giving incentives to the public to join and the gyms and clubs to offer? It would also be a great idea to make Doncaster as ‘bike friendly’ as many towns on the continent are. Holland sets a great example we could follow. If the issues of healthier diet and easier to access exercise could be addressed, Doncaster would be part way toward influencing a fitter not fatter lifestyle.”

* If you want to get involved, submit 150 words, name, title & photo to barbara.craythorn@jpress.co.uk and your views may appear next week when the subject is “What are your Dome highlights over almost three decades?”

Future weeks subjects:

February 8 - What are your Dome highlights over almost three decades?

February 15 - What do you love most about Doncaster region?

February 22 - How important is racecourse to local economy?