2012 Games kick-start keep-fit surge

Exercise boom
Exercise boom

OLYMPIC fever is turning couch potatoes into keep-fit fans across the district.

There has been a huge surge in the number of people attending gyms.

And, more are expected to get hooked with the London Games less than 100 days away.

Calderdale Council is trying to push the momentum further as part of its health and well-being strategy.

The number of Active Lifestyle Members using council gyms has now reached an ambitious target of 7,300 - up from a baseline of 3,000 in October 2010.

Council community services spokeswoman Pauline Nash (Lib-Dem Skircoat) said talk of the Olympics encouraged more people to exercise.

“The benefits are enormous for health and wellbeing,” she said.

“Exercise is a high priority for the health service and it can make a real contribution to quality of life.”

She said the council wanted to maximise the use of its exercise facilities and would work in partnership with others to promote exercise and that could include walking and cycling groups and commercial gyms.

And, by being pro-active and tuning into the theme of the Olympics more people would be encouraged to improve their lives.

“I would like to see groups joining together to get the message heard and hold taster sessions,” she said.

The council, which is currently looking at ways in which it delivers leisure services, has been successful with an Olympic legacy bid for £50,000 from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund to improve the gym at Todmorden Sports Centre.

Recently, Halifax Harriers held a “taster sesssion” at Spring Hall, Halifax, to mark the 100-day countdown to the Games.

It, and other sports clubs, expect a boom in membership as more people decided to get active on the back of the Olympics.

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics Hugh Robertson said it was his priority for the Games to deliver a mass participation legacy for sport.

“I want to see a marked, and sustained, cultural shift towards greater participation in sport,” he said.

“To deliver this, Sport England will focus on improving facility provision and developing sport at a community level.”

The Olympic torch will be carried through Brighouse and Halifax on June 24 ahead of the Games opening on July 27.