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Leisure centres offer scheme to improve long-term health

Published on 14 January 2022

New Year is often a time for new goals with leading healthier lifestyles featuring highly for many people - particularly those with some long term conditions where moving more would make a real difference.

High Peak leisure centres play a central role in helping people start, and stay, physically active and a scheme aimed at people with some health conditions who currently do little or no exercise but want to do more is now available in Buxton, Glossop and New Mills.

The Exercise by Referral scheme is a 12-week programme of exercise, supported by qualified fitness staff, aimed at encouraging people to be active for life and improve their long-term health.

At the end of the 12 weeks, participants can take advantage of reduced membership rates for 12-months or an instructor-provided physical activity plan to use at home.

In order to take part, you must be referred by a GP or health professional and have been diagnosed with one of the following conditions: coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, stroke, musculoskeletal conditions or mental health problems. People suffering from long Covid also qualify.

Councillor Damien Greenhalgh, Deputy Leader of the Borough Council and Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said: "There's lots of evidence that shows the benefits of movement and physical activity for both the management and prevention of certain physical and mental health conditions.

"Moving more equals better health so it's a great way for people to make a real difference to their lives - and after the experiences of the last two years so many of us have come to value and place even greater importance on maintaining good health.

"That's why I'm delighted that we, and our leisure partners Lex Leisure, are now offering this supported scheme at our leisure centres. I hope those people that take part enjoy improved health as a result and that being active becomes a life-long habit."

Stacey Wild, New Mills Leisure Centre Manager, added: "With all the fitness expertise on site, and a wide range of activities on offer, we're confident we can make a real difference to enable people to live healthier lives."

The scheme is open to High Peak residents aged 19 and over who currently do less than 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. There's more information at

But you don't need to take our word for the benefits. Glossop scheme participant Trevor Carter said: "I started out by doing a doctor's referral and ending up joining for 12 months. It's very enjoyable and good fun and I feel so much better for the experience.

"I would recommend anyone to try it. Get your doctor or nurse to refer you - you won't regret it."

Liz Johnson asked to be referred when she heard about the scheme. She said: "The difference it made not only to my physical health but my mental health as well cannot be underestimated.

"I am awaiting two total knee replacements and have been given a date next month for my first operation. The three months free membership has given me hope that I will be in as good a condition as I can be at 64 and not having been able to walk and exercise as I have always been used to. I'm sure many more people could benefit from giving this a go."