Sports-mad people in Mid Sussex are striding ahead in leaps and bounds when it comes to keeping fit.
New research shows that the district has the highest level of sports participation in the whole of Sussex - AND is among the top 25 local authority areas in Britain.
The research - dubbed Active People - was commissioned by Sport England and is the largest survey of sport and active recreation ever carried out in Europe.
Results are tracked continuously online and are formally published twice a year in June and December.
The latest figures released last month show Mid Sussex is leading the way when it comes to sports participation in Sussex, with 45.6% of people taking part in sport at least once a week. This is a 4.2% increase since last year and a 6.7% increase since the survey began in 2005/2006 and way above the national average of (36.1%.
Councillor Pru Moore, cabinet member for leisure, said: “Regular exercise is really important to our health and wellbeing so I’m delighted to see that so many of our residents are regularly taking part in sporting.
“One of our main aims as a council is to help people take part in sport and experience the health benefits of regular physical exercise. We have three great leisure centres in Mid Sussex and we’re investing in them significantly to ensure our residents have access to quality sports facilities.
“In 2014 our management partner Places for People Leisure funded a £2.7 million programme of upgrades to provide new gym equipment, cycle studios and attractive café/reception areas. As a council we’re looking to support them this year by investing a urther £1.2 million as part of a £3.1 million project to build a new gym and climbing wall at The Triangle, create bigger fitness studios and upgrade the changing rooms and toilet facilities.”
Fellow councillor Norman Webster said: “We understand that not everybody finds it easy to go to the gym or get involved with sports clubs. If you haven’t exercised for a while and you’d like become more active then our Wellbeing Team can help you take those crucial first steps.
“It can seem daunting joining an exercise class for a first time and they can be expensive but our Wellbeing Team has ‘Back to Exercise’ classes that take care of everything. They are taught at a beginner’s pace and specifically created for people who have never exercised before or those who have been inactive for a long time. Best of all, sessions cost just £1 so they won’t break the bank.
“There’s no need to feel self-conscious because everyone’s starting out together and there are lots of activities to choose from including Zumba, Pilates, Stretch and Tone classes, walking football and learn to run courses.”