Basingstoke Sports Council

Serving Basingstoke's sporting community for over 25 years.

Active Living

Active Living! - Basingstoke & Deane

It’s recommended that adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity at least 5 times a week.

Getting more active doesn’t have to mean spending hours in a gym or playing competitive sport. It’s about finding the time to build physical activity into your daily life, doing activities you enjoy at a time to suit you.

Active Living! Healthy Hampshire & IOW is supporting the national Change 4 Life campaign and will help you become more active, on your terms, in your area. Have a look around for ideas and inspiration for ways to get more active.

There are Money-saving offers, ways to start making healthy changes for adults and juniors, a summer fun generator and much more including -

  • Sugar Swaps - Simple ways to help kids eat less sugar 
  • 5 a day - Giving youngsters their 5 portions of fruit or veg a day is easier than you think
  • Meal time - Why it's iportant to make room for 3 regular meals
  • 60 active minutes - Do your kids get theirs everyday ?
  • Snack check - How to reduce unhealthy eating
  • Me size meals - How to make sure kids eat the right sized portions for their age
  • Cut back on fat - Easy ways to lower the fat in your families diet
  • Up and about - Why kids should not veg out and how to get them out and about

Change for Life / Change4Life on Twitter / Change4life on Facebook

NOW ON! Look out for us at events across the county this summer - we're taking our roadshow to ASDA supermarkets, community events and fun, family-friendly festivals.

Whether you're after inspiration to get more active, suggestions on how to fit activity into a hectic lifestyle, or just want to find out more, come and find us for a chat. We'd love to meet you.


The amount we walk each day is the easiest and cheapest way to increase activity levels. A walk can boost your energy levels – which is great news for playing with kids or staying alert and productive.


Cycling is a low-impact and convenient way to reach your physical activity targets. Swapping the car for a bike is a cheaper and greener way to get about and most importantly to keep active.  



Running is the perfect way to get active without having to spend a fortune on kit and equipment... it's accessible and ultra-convenient

Why get your body active ?

If you are inactive, you are more likely to have a heart attack than someone who is active. Why not spend a couple of minutes looking at the British Heart Foundation website to see how to 'Get Active' and hopefully prevent a heart attack with information on -

  • What kind of activity is good for your heart ?
  • How do you get started ?
  • Top tips to help stay active
  • Advice on Heart attack prevention

Physical activity helps children grow strong bones, maintain a healthy weight and discover the world around them. Best of all, it's great fun !

The NHS choices website suggests ten activity tips for families to encourage them to 'Get Active' with their children.

Why get Active ?

It’s no secret that regular activity is good for you and your body but what does it actually do?


Exercise triggers the release of naturally produced chemicals that protect brain cells and keep them performing at top speed, according to recent research. In fact studies amongst older people suggest that it can actually protect an ageing brain from dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease.

At any age, exercise boosts concentration simply by helping you to get a restful night’s sleep. Ironically, being unfit often makes you susceptible to tiredness – and being tired often means that you don’t exercise enough. Gradually increasing your exercise levels will actually give you more energy – and the desire to do even more.


Regular exercise produces stronger bones. This is particularly important for both men and women who are prone to osteoporosis or thinning of the bones as they get older. Weight bearing activities (anything you do standing up) running, skipping, aerobics, tennis, weight training and brisk walking are particularly useful.


Exercise releases natural chemicals into your brain like serotonin. These have a strong effect on your mood, helping to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. In addition there is also the sense of achievement and satisfaction you get from setting activity targets and achieving them.


Physical activity can reduce the risk of high blood pressure – and if you already suffer from it, can help to bring it down, although you should seek medical advice before getting started. Exercise helps you to maintain normal blood glucose levels and helps in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes. 


Many women find that exercise helps them to cope with pre-menstrual cramps. It might be the last thing you feel like doing but it takes your mind off any discomfort, helps keep the blood moving around your body and can ease any heavy bloated feelings. Some simple abdominal exercises can help.


You can’t bank muscles. It’s a case of use them or lose them. Regular exercise helps keep muscles supple and strong. It’s not about bulk - you can leave that to the bodybuilders - it’s about flexibility. Anything that involves gentle reaching, bending and stretching of muscle groups - golf, bowls, yoga, tai-chi, dance and walking - can help you achieve a full range of movement and stay independent as you get older.

Strengthening your muscles with activities such as stair climbing, carrying your shopping from the supermarket, weight training and walking uphill will help to give you good balance and posture and reduce your risk of falling. The improved muscle tone can help improve your shape, making you look and feel better. Finally, larger muscles use up more calories so can help you keep to a healthy weight. 


Like any muscle, the more you use your heart the stronger it becomes. Aerobic activities that get your heart beating that little bit faster - like brisk walking, dancing, cycling or swimming - will help your heart to become a more efficient pump. They also reduce blood pressure, increase good cholesterol, improve blood flow and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes - all key risk factors in coronary heart disease and strokes.


Not moving around enough increases your risk of colon and breast cancer. Inactivity has also been linked with cancer of the womb, lung and prostate. Being very active can significantly reduce the risk of colon and bowel cancers.

High blood pressure or hypertension can speed up the process of heart disease or kidney failure. So as exercise helps to control blood pressure, it can also help you to look after your kidneys, your heart and reduce the risk of a stroke.


Combined with healthy eating, exercise is crucial to preventing obesity and helping you to lose weight. Activity encourages the body to use up stored fat, while the larger muscles it builds also burn more calories.

Safety Points

If you feel discomfort or pain when being more active, then you should get advice from a doctor.

If you have any medical conditions, particularly if you are taking prescribed medication, consult your GP about your chosen activity.

Increase your level of activity gradually. This relates to both the amount of time you spend on the activity and the intensity. If you are currently fairly inactive, don’t get carried away and rush into it, start off very slowly.

When you are doing any activity, begin slowly for the first few minutes and build up gradually. At the end spend a couple of minutes slowing down gradually. If you are taking part in sport, make sure you warm up and cool down to prevent muscle injury.

Stop exercising if you feel pain or dizziness or if you feel sick, tired or unwell.

If you are cycling, wear a helmet and reflective clothing. Use lights if cycling at night.

Choose a way to Get Active 

Take a look at your lifestyle now - is your home or work place well suited to help you to Get moving, get active?

Do you think that exercise can fit into the life you lead now? Be honest about any excuses you have made in the past to avoid getting started or reasons why you didn’t continue on a programme of healthier living.

Remember that you don’t need expensive equipment or to join a gym or sports club if you don’t want to. Trainers or comfortable walking shoes are perfect for brisk walks. If you decide to swim, check out the sessions available - usually you’ll find sessions before and after work and adults or women only sessions too.

Could you combine exercise with one of your other interests? Countryside walks or cycling in town taking in local history? Maybe a friend would like to go dancing - activities like this are a great way of meeting new people. Exercising is a very social activity; and fitter people tend to have more energy for socialising with friends and family.

You might choose conservation work, dancing or walking; how about swimming or badminton - whatever activity you like or whatever is easiest for you.

There are hundreds of activity suggestions on our website at or you can telephone us on 01256 844844 for further details.

When you Get moving, get active your life will change for the better.

Getting started and keeping on track

You don’t need to over exert yourself - you just need to get moving, get active.

To see real benefits, you should feel that you get warmer; you can hear your breathing and your pulse has quickened but you still should be able to talk and hold a conversation.

Here are a few suggestions for your first couple of months.

What to do in your first month

  • What to wearMake sure you are wearing comfortable walking shoes or trainers; and warm clothes if you are heading for a brisk walk or cycle ride.
  • Before you startSpend a few minutes preparing for exercise before you start. Perhaps a few really gentle smooth stretches just to make sure your body is in good working order.
  • 20 minutes exerciseIf you feel the need to slow down from a brisk walk or cycle ride or to slow down your breathing - do so for two or three minutes and then gradually build up the pace again.
  • Preparing to stopIn the last few minutes of your session gradually ease the pace so that you finish with your breathing and heart rate almost back to normal

In the following month, try to increase the duration of your sessions. Continue with five minutes warm up; steadily increasing the number of minutes per session.

Over time your resting heart rate will drop; your blood pressure will improve significantly and the rate at which your body burns energy will increase, even if you are at rest. This means your body is using fuel more efficiently - so make sure you continue to give it good fuel with lots of fruit and vegetables and plenty of water. You should have more energy, enhanced moods and improved sleep.

If you Get moving, get active four or five times per week remember to praise yourself - it’s a fantastic investment you are making in your health and happiness. You might want to treat yourself to a delicious and healthy meal out or a new top or shirt.

"Remember the focus has to be on regular activity, the key is the frequency of exercise sessions."

Stay motivated

If sometimes you lack motivation, remind yourself how 30-45 minutes exercise, four to five days per week significantly reduces the risk of serious illness, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer, as well as improving skin, hair and waistlines.

Focus on the everyday benefits you have been feeling - finding the stairs easier; having more energy to socialise with friends and family. Chat to friends and colleagues and see if anyone would like to join you on your exercise session or ask them to encourage you to make your new programme part of your everyday life. Many employers also support their staff in their efforts to get active.

"Whatever activity you choose and whether you exercise by yourself or with friends it’s all about doing something that you enjoy to benefit your heart and your body."

Start at home

Turn your house into a gym. Your home is a great place to do your 5x30 because it’s free and private.

Do step aerobics on the stairs, walk the dog like you are on the tread mill. Do some squats whilst gardening. Dance to music whilst you do the house work. Don’t take the car to the shops, walk there!

Start today, aiming for 30 mins, 5 times a week (5x30). Why not plan a weekly routine using the planner on page 17, or record your activity in a diary?

  • Do some light digging and weeding - good for you and the garden
  • Hoover your way to health
  • Improve your home and fitness with painting and DIY
  • Try exercising while watching TV (stretching or exercise biking, for instance)
  • Put on some music and dance to the beat
  • At work take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Go for a walk during a break or at lunchtime.