WEEKLY sessions helping to support healthy lifestyle choices are being launched in Upper Nithsdale for the first time.
Free guidance and support will show how even small changes to routine can result in someone feeling fitter and better, and potentially reduce their risks of developing illnesses such as cancer and Type 2 diabetes.
The Health and Wellbeing sessions which officially launch at Sanquhar Health Centre on January 10 are being delivered by Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership.
Nithsdale public health practitioner Tina Gibson said: “We’ve got staff capacity now to start work in Sanquhar Health Centre.
“It’s a free drop-in, with an opportunity to get weighed, but there’s also a topic covered every week like healthy snack ideas, motivation and goal setting.
“People can come at the beginning to get weighed. They can then stay for the chat if they want to, so there’s a social aspect as well. People have formed their own groups and gone for coffee afterwards.
“And we do sometimes set little challenges during the week, but people are just doing it for themselves – it’s not a competition.
“But it can help you. If you need a knee replacement, they won’t do that unless you’re a certain weight. And then there’s diabetes, reducing the risk of cancer, the effect on your joints, and being able to live well. People maybe don’t realise that if you do lose weight you can add many healthy years to your life.”
Pointing to one of the health risks associated with being overweight, Tina added: “It’s about prevention of Type 2 diabetes, because Type 2 diabetes is not a very nice thing to get. It’s a serious disease, and it’s about doing anything you can to do avoid it. If you’re obese, you’re seven times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes.
“It’s mostly avoidable. You can reduce your chances. If you’re a healthy weight you can significantly reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes and reverse it as well. People can stop taking medications.”
The Health and Wellbeing sessions have already been running successfully in Dumfries, helping people to make small modifications to lifestyle which are hopefully less of a challenge to maintain.
And some sessions feature guest speakers, who explain how small changes to lifestyle can help reduce certain health risks.
Helping to deliver the sessions, community link worker Lindsay Murdoch said: “A lot of people are thinking about their lifestyles after Christmas, as most of us will be. But it’s everything in moderation, and making small, manageable changes. It’s giving people tips and ideas. Some of those might not suit them, but they might be able to take those that work for them and include them in their lifestyle. We wouldn’t expect people to take everything on board and make dramatic changes.
“It’s information about healthy lifestyle choices, with an optional weigh-in, so there is a focus on weight.
“Each week we have a different topic, where usually there’s a handout of some sorts. We have a discussion around that, and questions, and it’s good because there’s good peer support there as well and that helps people’s motivation.
“We also provide a different recipe every week so people get a bit of variety, and while some people don’t cook others share picture of dishes they’ve made on the Facebook page and Twitter.”
Lindsay added: “We encourage people as well to try and increase their physical activity. That’s not necessarily going to the gym – it could be just going an extra walk once a week, or whatever’s manageable for them, because a lot of people who come along have multiple long-term conditions so they’re not able to go and do an hour at the gym or an aerobics class or do yoga.
“So we try to give people a variety of ideas that they could get involved in. It could be hula hooping – something that’s fun, and that they’re going to enjoy. And some people in the Dumfries sessions have made friends, and go along to exercise together.”
The first Health and Wellbeing session takes place at Sanquhar Health Centre at 2 pm on January 10.
For more information about Health and Wellbeing sessions in both Sanquhar and Dumfries visit the Facebook page Nithsdale Health & Wellbeing Team, the Twitter account NithsdaleHIT or contact Lindsay Murdoch by emailing [email protected]