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Keeping yourself physically fit and active helps you to lead a healthier life and can make you feel better. Taking part in sports can help you to get out, meet new people and make friends.

Regular exercise can reduce the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke and cancer. It is also good for your mental wellbeing and can help to boost your mood, your self-esteem, help you to sleep better and reduce the risk of stress and depression.

NHS Choices has information about health and fitness.

LiveWell Dorset is a free health service provided by Dorset Council. Do you want to become more active, manage your weight, quit smoking, or drink less alcohol? Take your next step to LiveWell.

Active 4 Health aims to help local people across East Dorset to get and keep active with a range of activities for different locations, interests and health needs.

Dorset Council Adult cycle training vouchers:  Many people would like to cycle for pleasure but are put off by the traffic or because they feel out of practice. A refresher cycle training session can give you added confidence.

We have a limited number of vouchers on offer giving you one-to-one bespoke tuition at a reduced rate. Each voucher entitles you to a two-hour session with a qualified instructor that is tailored to you. To qualify for a voucher, you must live in the Dorset Council area and be aged 18+. The scheme does not cover Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

Fitness for older people

As we age, it's important to keep active and exercise regularly. Moving more lowers your risk of heart disease, dementia and other health conditions.

Activity is anything that works for you. Every little counts, so start small and keep it up! Break up periods of sitting with regular movement.

Maintain muscle and movement from the comfort of your home through chair exercises. If you feel able to try something more energetic, try these swinging sixties dance workouts.

Read more NHS guidance about exercise as you get older.’

Age UK North, South & West Dorset has advice on how to keep fit and active for older people.

Staying active can help to reduce your risk of falls. Find out about preventing trips and falls.

You can find local fitness activities for older people in our Community Directory.

Alzheimer's Society has advice on exercise and physical activity for people with dementia.

England Netball run several Walking Netball classes around Dorset.  Walking Netball has been designed so that anyone can play regardless of age or fitness level. It can give those who feel isolated an outlet, provide an activity for those who do not deem themselves fit enough to run anymore and offer a stepping stone for those looking for a pathway back into netball.

Fitness and disability

NHS Choices has advice on how to get active if you have a disability or are in a wheelchair.

You can find local fitness activities for people with a disability in our Community Directory.

Stay active at home

From chair exercises to dance fitness, there are lots to try from the comfort of your home.

The NHS has created a series of videos to introduce you to Pilates and HIIT workouts.

Stay active outdoors

Walking briskly, even for 1 minute, counts as exercise. A daily brisk 10-minute walk gets your heart pumping, improves your mood and lowers the risk of serious health issues like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Active 10 is an app that tells you just how many minutes of brisk walking you complete every day.

Once you can complete 30 minutes of brisk walking, why not try the Couch to 5k app? Designed for people who have done little or no running, the app coaches you, helps you plan and track your progress. Download the Couch to 5k app.

You can try a range of voluntary and paid activities in the outdoors, such as allotment schemes, plant nurseries, riding centres and care farms. These help those with needs ranging from mild depression to lifelong learning disabilities.

Health walks are regular short guided walks that take place every week around Dorset. These free walks offer a great way to get out in the fresh air and meet new people as well as keeping you fit and healthy.

Parks in Mind programme puts on fun nature conservation and other outdoor activities in Bournemouth's beautiful parks and open spaces. 

Stepping into Nature offers nature-themed activities both indoors and out so you can spend time with other people. The activities are for everyone but especially older adults and those living with long-term health conditions such as dementia and their care partners.

It is led by the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty team and funded by the National Lottery.

Picnic in the Parks, a popular event in Dorset, has moved online and is full of ideas to enjoy nature and get active. Find fun new ways to enjoy nature and look after your health from home.

Use the interactive map to explore walks on your doorstep and ways you can get involved in your community. Spend time engaging with nature, indoors or out, boosts your mood, self-esteem and motivation to be active.

Picnic in the Parks is created by Stepping into Nature, Natural Choices and Active Dorset, along with local organisations and community groups.

Activate Coast and Greenspace programme

The Activate Coast and Greenspace programme aims to help local people to be more active through activities in nature. When it comes to exercise you can't beat getting out and about in the fresh air!

All activities welcome people of all ages and abilities, but especially beginners. From Nordic walking to cycling, running to tai chi and yoga, there is something for everyone.

The Activate Coast and Greenspace brochure shows you all the activities you can join.

To request a hard copy of the brochure or if you have any questions about the Activate Coast and Greenspace programme, please get in touch.

Health and Activity Team

You can access free easy ten minute workouts from Public Health England or try exercise videos at home on the NHS Fitness Studio. Sport England also has tips for keeping active at home.