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Active Health Team

Exercise on prescription!

The Active Health Team operates a referral scheme for NHS patients who have any risk factors for coronary heart disease.

District residents who meet the scheme's criteria are referred to the team by their GP or practice nurse.

Individuals are then assigned an Active Health Officer who will work closely with each referral to develop a 12-week individually-tailored programme of physical activities. Each officer also provides support and guidance throughout the individuals time on the scheme as well as post scheme follow-ups.

Activities available on the scheme include swimming, gym programmes, walking, exercise classes, cycling and chair-based exercise sessions.

For further information on how to improve your wellbeing, visit the Lancashire County Council Wellbeing Website

Walk your way to a healthy lifestyle

If you are looking to improve your health, meet new people and enjoy the best scenery our district has to offer then join the new Health Walk Group.

Lancaster City Council’s Active Health Team is starting a walking club for people who want to improve their health by joining in with some gentle exercise.

Every Wednesday the group will meet at Salt Ayre Sports Centre and spend around half an hour walking. The group is open to all and is free to join and all you need to bring are comfortable shoes and clothing.

Walking is good for your heart and lungs and improves cardiovascular fitness. Most of the work is done by the muscles of the lower body, and it is a weight-bearing activity, so it can help improve bone density. At the same time it is low impact, so it won’t strain your joints. Walking will also increase your muscle tone, boost metabolism, ease stress, raise energy levels and improve sleep, which combined can also help you lose weight. Regular walking can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, osteoporosis and arthritis. It can help you to deal with anxiety and stress, and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Case Study - The Spences ‘lose it’ with the Active Health Team

Back in October 2009, Mike Spence was referred to Lancaster City Council’s Active Health Scheme by his GP. Suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes combined with poor fitness levels and being overweight, Mike was in danger of suffering a heart attack unless he changed his lifestyle.

Hoping that the Active Health Scheme had the answer, it wasn’t long before Mike met his Active Health Officer at Salt Ayre Sports Centre. Between them, they devised a 12-week programme of physical activity based on his medical condition and choosing the type of exercise Mike would enjoy and be capable of doing.

Kicking off his programme with 50 minutes in the gym twice a week, Mike was soon ready for a more demanding programme. After a bit of encouragement and motivation Mike was ready to launch himself into the Active Health Circuit Class.

Within weeks, Mike’s wife was to join him on the scheme after being referred to help her lose some weight and increase her mobility. Needing to use a wheelchair, Jackie started in the Chair Based Exercise Class and only six weeks later was given a programme which involved walking on the treadmill with help and support from her husband.

Mike told us: “After being referred to the scheme by my GP and being assessed by the Active Health Team, it only took me six weeks to progress from the lower end of my training programme to the upper end. It was proving pretty easy and I was ready for something a bit more demanding which would take me up to the end of my 12 week course.”

Mike’s assessment at the end of the course revealed some great news. Not only had he lost weight and reduced his waist by two inches, his body mass index had dropped by 1.2 and his blood pressure had improved substantially.

“I was feeling great and wanted to keep going,” Mike added. Spurred on by the result and hoping to avoid the need for medication for type 2 diabetes, I immediately took out membership of the gym at Salt Ayre Sports Centre.

“With a healthy regime of going to the gym three or four times each week, a healthy diet and a regular round of golf, it’s my intention go another step further and take up cycling this summer. It’s also my intention to join the Active Health Team as a voluntary walk leader and help others change their lives for the better.”

Donna Swarbrick, Active Health Manager told us: “The council’s Active Health Scheme has been running for 10 months now and has seen 280 patients referred by GPs from across all 14 of the district’s surgeries and 151 of these benefiting from the scheme.

“From those who have completed their 12 week exercise programme, 90% have reported improvements in their health, fitness levels, lifestyle and most importantly a decrease in blood pressure and weight loss. The majority of these patients have also expressed how their confidence has increased and their stress levels have reduced.

“It’s not just about working out in a gym, the scheme also offers dance, swimming, exercise classes, walking and aqua classes as part of the available exercise options.

“Mike has made excellent progress and is continuing to do so. His wife Jackie has also shown significant improvement in her fitness levels and is still reaping the benefits of having been referred to the scheme.”

Further Information

Please contact the team directly using the details below.



Active Health Team


Salt Ayre Sports Centre, Doris Henderson Way, Salt Ayre Lane, Lancaster, LA1 5JS.




01524 847540 extension 206

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