Crawley Observer Column, Wednesday 24th August 2016

It doesn’t need saying that the UK has had a fantastic Olympics. Ending second in the table went beyond anyone’s expectations and huge congratulations are well-deserved for all those involved in producing such a superb result.

The question now is: what do we as a country take away from this achievement. Team GB are already gearing up to try and break new records at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Outside of athletics there are some rather unseemingly attempting to piggy back themselves onto the success of the UK’s sportspeople. But, I would hope that most can take some inspiration from the achievements of their countrymen, either in how they go about their daily life or taking first or further steps forward into some form of physical activity.

The UK’s obesity epidemic is well-recognised, over recent decades work has become increasingly sedentary, as have many leisure opportunities. The impact upon our NHS is a real problem and alongside the cost pressures of us living increasingly long lifespan, if things continue it’s hard to see how the system can be sustained.

For the UK’s health system to survive we must focus more on prevention and much of this thinking is guiding the way public services are evolving. But there is also a duty on all of us to do what we can to help improve our own health and wellbeing.

The first step is the hardest, but residents don’t have to do it alone. Services like Crawley Wellbeing are there to help provide advice and support for those looking to improve their health in a range of ways.

As a town we’re blessed with plenty of facilities for exercise, from one of the UK’s flagship leisure centres at K2 to our many neighbourhood playing-fields, and with many events and clubs open to the general public, including the ever popular Tilgate Park Run. Exercise can seem daunting at the start, but if you feel inspired by this summer’s games to get more active Crawley has the advice, support and facilities available to help you to take the next step to a healthier lifestyle.

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