Let’s get active in 2018

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to be more active and get fitter – we have some suggestions about how to get started.

There are lots of opportunities in South Leeds from walking and running groups to gyms and sports clubs.

Running is a great and relatively cheap way to get fitter. If you’ve never run before, or only many years ago, don’t worry. There is tried and tested way to get anyone running – it’s called the Couch To 5K programme.

The latest cohort of South Leeds Lakers Couch to 5K graduates at Cross Flatts parkrun with run leaders Ian Pickles and Denise Thurlow

You can do it by yourself – just download the NHS app onto your phone and you’ll be led through a nine week programme. You will gradually build up from short runs with walks in between until you are able to run for the whole 5 kilometres.

Of course, it’s more fun to do it with others and with a trained run leader to guide you. The good news is that two groups are about to start.

The Middleton Mavericks have teamed up with This Girl Can to run two women only Couch to 5K programmes starting on Monday 8 January at 6:30pm and Wednesday 10 January at 7pm. Both groups start from the new Middleton Park Bike Hub. The sessions are free, but you need to book via the This Girl Can Facebook page.

They are also running a general Fitness Bootcamp on Tuesdays at 6pm, also at the Bike Hub.

South Leeds Lakers meet every Tuesday at 7pm at Beeston Co-op. They regularly have over 70 runners and run 4 or 5 groups so they can cater for all abilities, even beginners. Their motto is “no one gets left behind.” First timers should come along at 6:45pm to fill out a form and it’s free.

The Lakers will be starting another Couch to 5K group soon, so keep an eye on their Facebook page.

Another way to start running is to attend parkrun. This is another free session organised by volunteers every Saturday morning. Parkrun is a measured, timed 5K walk or run. Before your first run you need to register at www.parkrun.org.uk and bring your barcode with you.

Cross Flatts parkrun starts near the top gates of Cross Flatts Park near Beeston Road at 9am every Saturday. A new Middleton parkrun is due to start soon, so watch out for an announcement soon.

All the groups are very welcoming and non-judgemental so don’t be put off or think you might show yourself up – you won’t. As This Girl Can puts it “I’m slow but I’m lapping everyone on the couch.”

Of course running isn’t for everyone. There are a number of walking groups in South Leeds.

Our own Ken Ingram is a trained walk leader and organises the BITMO Walk and Talk group which meets at BITMOs GATE centre on Aberfield Gate, Belle Isle Road at 11am on Mondays.

Health For All organise the Inside Out wellbeing group which meets outside Middleton Conservative Club at 6pm on Tuesdays. Call Gayle on 07852 945286 for more information.

Gayle also runs a Walk and Talk group that meets outside Greggs on Middleton Park Circus every Wednesday at 2pm.

St Mary’s church in Beeston has a Ramblers Group which goes for a longer walk once a month on a Saturday.

If you are looking for gym to join don’t forget that we have community owned facilities as well as the national commercial brands. Have a look at The Hunslet Club on Hillidge Road and the Hamara Centre on Tempest Road in Beeston.

Leeds Lets Get Active organises a wide range of free or cheap sessions including swimming and gym sessions at John Charles Centre for Sport and racket sports at Middleton Leisure Centre. They also run special sessions such as walking football and ‘unorthobox’ – a non contact boxing session for families which runs on Tuesdays at 3:30pm at Cottingley Community Centre.

If you prefer team sports, why not check out you local club?

Many community centres host fitness classes – have you heard of Clubbercise? Ideal if you have fond memories of Saturday night clubbing and like clubbing it’s in the dark so you don’t need to be embarrassed if you are not as slim as you once were.

And then of course we have our very own urban bike park. At the Middleton Park Bike Hub you can explore all types of cycling from family rides in the park to BMX and MTB trails. You don’t even need your own bike to get started.

Whatever activity you choose we hope you enjoy yourself.