Luton suffers higher than national average levels of deprivation and obesity. 36% of adults in the town are classified as inactive, compared to the England average of 28.5%. Research shows that changing physical activity levels needs longer term support rather than a one off intervention. Following a successful pilot project in Luton delivered in workplaces and the community, the Active Steps programme is now being delivered in South Hampshire across harder to reach community groups in the areas of Southampton, Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant and Eastleigh.
Active Steps is a free, intensive ten week health programme. Participants are given a pre and post health check and fitness test to see how being more active can help improve their health.
“ The programme is great. I had doubts in my own ability and it showed me what I was physically able to do. ”
They then receive support to increase everyday physical activity through walking and cycling, including:
- motivational e-mails and online community
- active travel diary
- bike buddying, route planning, cycle training
- bike or pedometer loans
- led rides, led walks and bike
- maintenance training
- rewarding achievement through
- prizes and incentives.
Active Steps pilot project in Luton:
- increased individuals actively travelling five or more days a week from 17% to 42%
- lowered participants BMI and blood pressure and reduced their weight by an average of 1.5kg
Active Steps project in South Hampshire:
- increased average hours of active travel per week from 2.6 to 4.5
- decreased hours spent driving per week from 7.5 to 3.5.