Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.
This week, we urge people to keep active during the winter months.
If your new year’s resolution was to exercise more in 2020, you are not alone.
Regular exercise is great for your physical health and fitness and has also been proven to significantly improve your mental wellbeing. But it can be hard to stay motivated during these colder and darker months.
Councillor Jill Rhodes, Cheshire East Council cabinet member with responsibility for public health said: “It can be tempting to stay wrapped up indoors at this time of the year, but staying physically active during winter will help you to stay warm and has numerous health benefits.
“Regular, moderate exercise helps to reduce tiredness, anxiety and depression, improves your mood and quality of life, strengthens your muscles, joints and bones and reduces the risk of health problems.
“Exercise is also great for your mental wellbeing as you can meet new friends – preventing loneliness and isolation. There are many groups and classes available across Cheshire East that you can join. Speak to your GP if you have any concerns about exercising.”
If possible, you should try and get up and move around at least once an hour. If walking is difficult, chair-based exercises and simply moving your arms and legs can help to stave off winter-borne illnesses.
Donna Williamson, senior manager of health innovation at Everybody Sport and Recreation, the health and wellbeing charity that manages the council’s leisure centres, said: “It is really important to exercise regularly and an ideal way to start increasing your physical activity is a daily 20-30 minute walk.
“Whether you prefer indoor or outdoor activities, we have something for everybody, from Nordic walking to walking football and netball.
“If you are inactive, recovering from illness or have a long-term health condition, such as diabetes or hypertension etc, you can join our new Everybody Healthy programme. This is a 12-week exercise plan with our specialist health advisors to discuss your goals, provide advice and guidance on the appropriate exercise intervention required, specific to your condition and lots of support on your exercise journey.
“If you have a long-term health condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or fibromyalgia, a disability, or struggle to exercise, ‘move it or lose it’ is a fantastic class that we offer. The classes have been developed by experts to help you to improve your flexibility, aerobic health and balance for greater strength. All the exercises can be carried out seated or standing, depending on your ability.
“In addition to this we have ‘escape’- a pain education and exercise programme for residents with low back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. Funded places are available.”
Exploring Cheshire East’s landscape and attractions on foot is another great way to keep active and have fun during winter. There is no better way to do this than through taking part in a Parkrun event.
Parkrun is a free, weekly event where you can walk, jog or run 5km on Saturday mornings at 9am. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you walk, jog or run – what matters is being outside, being active and having fun. Local events are held in Wilmslow, Macclesfield, Congleton and Crewe. Find out more and register for free by visiting: www.parkrun.org.uk
Throughout the year, the council’s ranger service team runs a variety of activities and events in the borough’s parks and greenspace. You can find out more by visiting: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk and searching for ‘ranger service’.
If you want to get out and explore on your bike, make sure you wrap up warm and take your bike for a health check, to test that the tyres and brakes are in good condition. You should always wear reflective clothing and use bike lights and reflectors.
If you need support to live a healthier lifestyle, the ‘One You Cheshire East’ service is available. This includes information, advice and free services to help residents to eat well, drink less alcohol, move more, lose weight and be smoke free. More information can be found by visiting: www.oneyoucheshireeast.org or calling 0808 1643 202.
For further winter-related advice, visit: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and scroll down to the winter wellbeing section. Advice can also be found on the council’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cheshireeastcouncil and on Twitter: @CheshireEast
Details of events taking place near you, which can help you to keep active, can also be found via the link: www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/livewell and clicking on the community activities tab.
Residents can help friends and neighbours, who do not have internet access, by downloading and printing off information from the website and giving it to them.