People from across the district are being invited to get fitter and healthier by signing up to ‘Fit 4 Life’, a programme that has proved both popular and successful since its launch earlier this year.
Harrogate Borough Council launched the lifestyle service back in February after funding was secured from North Yorkshire County Council. It is open to anyone living in the district who wants to improve their health by getting fitter, losing weight or making other healthy lifestyle choices.
Fit 4 Life is free to people who commit to the full 12 week programme and attend a follow-up assessment after six and 12 months. It has the backing of GPs, Harrogate and District Clinical Commissioning Group, North Yorkshire County Council and NHS Health professionals.
Classes are available in a number of towns across the district including Harrogate, Knaresborough, Ripon, Masham, Nidderdale and Boroughbridge.
Funded through North Yorkshire County Council’s Public Health Grant and delivered by Harrogate Borough Council, the classes are run by experts in weight management and nutrition. The sessions have been specifically designed to help people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) equal to, or greater than, 25 – assisting them to lose weight and learn how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
People taking part learn about eating well, portion sizes, food labels, protein, fats, salt and carbohydrates, and the benefits of physical activity. Sessions are made up of 30 minutes of nutritional advice followed by 45 minutes of physical exercise.
Julia has been attending Fit 4 Life classes in Harrogate, she said:
I enrolled in March of this year, I weighed 13 stones 3lb, felt very unfit and overweight with a high BMI. Fortunately, most of the others who had enrolled on the course felt just the same.
Doing a class where everyone is overweight is helpful in a way, because everyone is at a similar level.
Margaret from Harrogate couldn’t walk the width of the hall – around 20 ft – when she did her first Fit 4 Life fitness test. On her final test she walked 10 widths of the hall without a break and attended her latest session without her walking frame.
Margaret said: I have really enjoyed the classes and got a lot of benefit from them.
Margaret’s BMI is now normal after being high; she has lost over 4kg in weight and over 5cm from her waist.
Councillor Stanley Lumley is Harrogate Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Sport, said:
These classes have proved tremendously successful in the six months that they have been running, and have provided the perfect opportunity for anyone wanting advice and support on shedding a few pounds and changing their attitude towards food.
Making the classes available on a variety of days and times throughout the district has meant people have been able to sign up for the duration of the course and, as the weeks have gone by, they have been able to see the benefits that exercising regularly and eating healthily can bring.
The council’s Fit 4 Life team help participants with goal setting and motivate them to get the most from the fun physical activity sessions. Fit 4 Life is, quite simply, an enjoyable means of achieving the results you want.
County Councillor David Chance, executive member with portfolio lead for public health said:
North Yorkshire County Council is investing £700,000 over two years through our public health grant to encourage people to review their lifestyles and discover what they can do to improve their health and overall enjoyment of life.
The success stories we’ve been told about show that this is an excellent use of money, and better levels of fitness now can also help prevent many health problems in later life. The Fit 4 Life programme is completely free for participants and I am confident that it will continue to be popular and successful across the borough.
If you would like to find out more about Fit 4 Life classes or to book a place please contact Natalie Smith on 07525 988160 or email firstname.lastname@example.org