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More people doing regular exercise in Essex, survey shows

PUBLISHED: 13:22 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:22 30 August 2018

30:30 participants enjoy the Active Essex Foundation fitness challenge. Credit: ACTIVE ESSEX

30:30 participants enjoy the Active Essex Foundation fitness challenge. Credit: ACTIVE ESSEX

A campaign aimed at encouraging residents in Essex to get active has inspired people to take part in more regular sport and exercise, a survey has revealed.

Gemma Wright, 33, from Colchester, completing her 30 minutes of exercise a day at her local park. Picture: ACTIVE ESSEXGemma Wright, 33, from Colchester, completing her 30 minutes of exercise a day at her local park. Picture: ACTIVE ESSEX

More than 800 participants signed up for the first 30:30 challenge to complete 30 minutes of exercise a day for 30 days throughout June.

A survey of participants revealed that 72% are now taking part in more regular exercise because of the initiative.

The challenge was launched by the Active Essex Foundation, a charity which uses sport and physical activity to inspire hard-to-reach and under-represented communities to become more physically active, lead healthier lives, raise aspirations and confidence, and improve mental health.

Currently, one in five Essex residents do not take part in any physical activity or sport, with levels of inactivity highest among people on low incomes, women, those with disabilities or life-limiting illnesses, and the unemployed.

Physical inactivity, classed as doing less than 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a day, is the cause of one in six deaths – the same rate as smoking.

Jason Fergus, a trustee of the Active Essex Foundation and Director of county sport partnership Active Essex, said: “A strong commitment to regular physical activity is absolutely essential in order to maintain positive health and wellbeing.

“It doesn’t have to be expensive, time consuming or even hard work to engage with sport and physical activity. In fact, there are many activities that are free and accessible to everybody – so all Essex residents can lead healthier, more active lifestyles.

“We are very pleased that the campaign has inspired so many people across Essex to get active and has also helped raise awareness of the Active Essex Foundation’s work.”

The survey also revealed that seven out of 10 participants have experienced benefits to their mental wellbeing, while 42% tried an activity for the very first time.

Gemma Wright, 33, from Colchester, took part in the 30:30 challenge with her husband Adam, along with their 14 month-old son.

She said: “The 30:30 challenge has encouraged us to take part in more activities as a family – swapping sitting in a café for regular trips to the park.

“As well as having lots of fun as a family, increasing the amount of physical activity I do has really improved my life, general fitness and happiness.”

For more information about the Active Essex Foundation, please visit www.activeessexfoundation.org or www.3030essex.com

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