A recent report by Sport England has suggested that almost 30% of Salford residents are active for less than 30 minutes a week.

The report from Sport England has stated that the current national efforts to get the public fitter were ‘uncoordinated and fragmented’.

Salford has seen a decrease of around 11,000 moving adults over the last 12 months as well as now having 3 in 5 adults classed as obese or overweight.

However, with the increase in the number of activity groups and sports sessions available around Salford, are these figures going to change?

Around 14 weeks ago, the Vitality Parkrun team set up a new track in Salford’s very own Peel Park, the Run Director for the Peel Park 5k Run, Adrian Marsh, stated how accessible it is to the public.

He said: “Parkrun is for everybody – children under 10 can run with an adult, we had a lady in a wheelchair running with us today. It’s completely accessible. There are even courses around the country that are able to deal with the deaf.

“Take the first step, get off the couch and get out. You can walk Parkrun; you don’t have to run it. If you can make it a habit then it will add an extra two years on your life – that can’t be too bad”.

The introduction of this activity has already seen a hugely positive reaction from Salfordians.

Mr Marsh said: “We have a steady bunch of regulars here at Parkrun. We get 200 people turning up when it’s lashing it down

“One of the big reasons that people come down here is probably a hangover cure and the rest just like to get out to the park and come on a run. There is no real competition to it, the only real competition is against yourself. Everybody is happy to be here, and it is like a big family, even if that is a cliché”.

Another activity group that was recently founded in Salford was the six-a-side Leisure Leagues, set up by 26-year-old Simon Blinco as a direct response to the lack of activity in Salford.

He said: “I think personally speaking from me, when I was between 16 and 17 years old, all me and my mates wanted to do is play football, but when you get to the bracket of 20 and 21, and after that, maybe Salford isn’t the most active place in the world.

“I was born in Salford and a couple years ago I tried to look for a league that me and my mates could play in, but there was nowhere. The opportunities just weren’t good enough, and when I looked into setting up my own, I ended up stumbling across Leisure Leagues and realised that in the Northwest there isn’t one. So, I set up a franchise for Leisure League Salford.”

The introduction of the Leisure Leagues in Salford has also been a success. Simon has now got a total of three leagues that play in the week, with over 30 teams taking part.

Simon touched on why he thinks the leagues are such a success, as well as the benefits they have for fellow Salfordians.

He commented: “Obviously you instantly go to the weight loss factory – there is a lot of advertisement that I’ve done before. If there is a ball involved, it’s usually the case that running isn’t too hard.

“I’ve actually got mates who play in my leagues and with the way the last year has been, being locked away for a long time, it really did impact people socially and I’ve had mates who did quieten down over that time. Then, when these leagues and football came back, I’ve seen them get back to the people I recognise – obviously that is really good and another advantage of the leagues”.

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