We all know it feels good being active, and we all know what the doctors tell us about the benefits to our mental and physical health. But sometimes life can just get in the way.
Read Liz’s story for some inspiration, then let us know how things can change to help make Leeds more active.
Videographer: Yash Gandhi
After a traumatic accident which left her hip shattered, Liz Stephensen-Payne was told she may never get back to being fully active.
But five years on, following three months of bed rest and even longer using a wheelchair and walking sticks, Liz is fitter and more active than ever.
“Because I had to have a hip reconstruction and a lower pelvis break, I was in bed for a long time. It did have an impact on my confidence and my mood. At first it was really difficult to get moving, but once I was able to be active again, I felt the difference straight away. Even just a short walk in the fresh air really improved my mood.
Walking and running became really important to me and I wanted to help others experience the same sort of benefits in terms of mood and health that I’d felt. I became an ambassador for Leeds Girls Can and now I run walking and running groups for other women. It’s really important to offer women-only groups because that enables women from all cultures to join in, and I’ve met so many interesting people.
It’s especially important for women of my age to be active. It’s just so good for you! It protects against diseases like vascular dementia and heart problems, and it gets you out and about and meeting people. Being active was such an important part of recovering from my accident. Now it’s just part of my everyday life, and I feel so much better for it.”
Leeds Let’s Get Active offers a range of community-based activities for people who need a bit of extra encouragement to get active. Get Set Leeds is a project where the council, health services, Leeds University and people across Leeds are working together to make it easier for everyone to be more active in the city.
Check out One You Leeds, which offers free classes and personal support from a Health and Wellbeing Coach.
Your GP can refer you to a social prescribing service to find out more about what’s in your area.
If disability or long-term conditions make it difficult to move more, Active Leeds offers disability sports opportunities and information on adapted equipment and accessible facilities.
There are physical activity health programmes for people with cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and musculo-skeletal problems, or tailored activities for people with mental health difficulties. Community projects like Caring Together or Hamara offer free activity sessions including chair-based exercise, yoga and dance. For information on women-only activity sessions, try Leeds Girls Can.