We have an ambitious goal and we need your help to reach it. We want Liverpool to be the most active major city outside London by 2021.
We’ve set ourselves this goal because being more active is the single most effective way to improve our physical and mental health and, at the moment, Liverpool is well behind other parts of the country when it comes to being active.
When I talk about being active, it doesn’t have to mean joining the gym or running a half marathon. It might mean making smaller and more realistic changes to your routine, like taking the stairs instead of the lift, getting off the bus one stop early or walking to the shops instead of driving.
That might sound almost too easy but even small amounts of activity – which won’t cost you a penny - can make a huge difference to how we feel and help prevent illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, as well as easing the symptoms of long-term conditions such as diabetes and lung disease.
When we held conversations with the people of Liverpool last summer, as part of Healthy Liverpool, a lot of you talked about mental health.
There’s evidence to show that being active leads to an improved sense of wellbeing and causes chemical changes in the brain, which can improve our mood and self-esteem. So this isn’t just about our physical fitness, it will help us feel better mentally too.
Part of our work will involve encouraging employers to help their staff be more active during the workday and we’ll be providing grants to community groups which can support people to get moving.
But we also need to hear from you so we can get a clear picture of what kind of activities you currently do and what we can do to support you to do even more.
And if you aren’t currently active – and a lot of us aren’t, for various reasons – then we need to understand why that is and what would help you to incorporate some physical activity into your daily life.
To make this as easy as possible for you, we’ve created a short online survey which should take no more than ten minutes to complete.
We have also created a community map of the best places to be active in Liverpool, which we hope will inspire you to try something new. If you’ve got any suggestions which you think others might enjoy then you can add them to the map directly.
This is all available on the Healthy Liverpool website here.
Let’s work together and get Liverpool moving – we’ll all feel so much better for it.
By Dr Maurice Smith, a GP at Mather Avenue surgery in Allerton and Clinical Director for Healthy Liverpool’s ‘Living Well’ project.