Active buddy helps to get fit
A mentoring scheme to help older people become more physically active is being launched in a market town.
The Active Buddy Scheme that has been set up in Oswestry has already given training to mentors who have volunteered to accompany people to their chosen activity for the first few weeks.
It is now appealing for people who would like an 'Active Buddy' to come forward.
Susie Hancock, programme co-ordinator, from Shropshire Rural Communities Charity said it was inviting older people to become more physically active.
"Leisure centres, gyms, exercise classes and sports clubs may seem scary places for people who are not used to exercising," she said.
"However the media is full of reports which show that physical inactivity and a sedentary lifestyle can be as bad as smoking, to increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, Stroke, Type 2 Diabetes, anxiety and depression. Regular physical activity promotes good health and mental resilience.
"Many people have traumatic memories of school PE lessons for the rest of their lives. For active adults, however, their exercise class or sports club can become a key part of their social life and a treasured moment each week, when they can leave behind their day-to-day worries and just have fun with their friends. After the exercise session they feel satisfied and invincible."
She said that Oswestry was particularly lucky in the range of activities available for all levels of ability.
"The terror of walking into a class or gym for the first time, however, can seem an impossible barrier. Active Buddy volunteer mentors accompany an older person to their chosen activity for the first six weeks, until the person has made friends and developed their self-confidence to continue on their own. Active Buddies do not tell the person what to do and they do not give medical advice but they do listen and support people to become more active."
If you would like an Active Buddy to accompany you to a new activity, contact Susie.Hancock@Shropshire-rcc.org.uk or phone 01743 342160.