Have a Healthy Start to the New Year

The New Year is a time for resolutions and a good time to make a healthy new start; whether it’s eating better, becoming more active or stopping smoking.
This January, Change4Life is encouraging people to sign up to the ‘Smart Swaps’ challenge to make at least one small healthy improvement every day for a month.
This new campaign aims to help families cut sugar and saturated fat from their everyday snacks, drinks and meals. Change4Life is calling on families across the nation to sign up and make one easy change this January – like swapping sugary drinks to sugar free or diet drinks, milk or water. By doing this, an average family could save up to three quarters of a bag of sugar over four weeks.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said: “After an indulgent festive period, taking on a new healthy challenge is a great way to start the New Year. Making simple changes to our everyday lives can make for a big difference.”
By signing up, families will receive free resources, full of healthier swap and meal ideas, money off vouchers and fridge magnets as well as supportive emails and texts throughout the month. Visit www.nhs.uk/change4life to sign up.
Locally, Tower Hamlets Council will be providing advice and support on how to make healthy food swaps and helping residents sustain their healthy goals beyond the first week of January.
Getting up and active is a great way to stay warm during the winter months. Squeezing in a walk on your way to work or after dinner can boost your metabolism and your mood.
Cllr Abdul Asad, cabinet member for health and wellbeing said: “Walking can be a great way to gain energy, relieve stress and burn extra calories. Staying active can be more motivating and enjoyable in a group and there are a number of walking groups in Tower Hamlets.”
More information on local walking groups can be found at: www.walkingforhealth.org.uk or at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/walks. You can also download the Walkit app to keep track of your route, journey time, steps taken and amount of calories burned. Download it for free at www.walkit.com.
Looking for something a bit faster-paced? Cycling is a low-impact exercise and a great way to keep fit and maintain a healthy weight at any age. Free adult cycle training and regular cycling clubs are available all year-round.
The All Ability Cycle Club is open to children and adults of all ages. Free to attend, groups meet on Wednesday afternoons and alternative Saturdays. For more information visit: www.bikeworks.org.uk.
If you are up for cycling solo around the borough, a map of cycle routes can be found at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/cycling, also highlighting all of the Barclays cycle hire docking stations.
If you need an extra nudge to get moving, there are free weight management programmes offered at venues across the borough. Available to children from the age of 5 up to 18, these fun, active sessions run for 10 weeks starting mid-January. Post-natal group sessions are also running. For more information contact 0208 223 8485 or email weight.management@bartshealth.nhs.uk.
Time to kick the smoking habit? More than 1,000 Tower Hamlets residents have stopped tobacco use over the past six months, thanks to the local stop smoking services.
Dr Somen Banerjee, Director of Public Health Tower Hamlets said: “There is local support and services for any health improvement you are looking to make this New Year. Stopping smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing. Our large network of stop smoking services continues to help more and more people stay smoke free so speak to your GP or pharmacist today.”
Start your New Year with a breath of fresh air by dropping-in to one of the sessions below and discussing your quitting options:
Drop-in stop smoking session
Tuesdays 1pm – 2pm
Philpot Street E1 2JH
Lunchtime group stop smoking session
Tuesdays 12 – 1pm starts Tuesday January 14
Philpot Street E1 2JH
Drop-in stop smoking session
Thursdays 11am-2pm (Ongoing)
Idea Store, Roman Road Market, E3 5ES
Drop-in stop smoking session
Fridays 11am-1pm (Ongoing)
London Chest Hospital, Room 9, Main Outpatients Department E2 9JX
The Bangladeshi Stop Tobacco Project will be hosting stalls at various mosques and GP practices over January and February. Stop by Ford Square Mosque Friday 17 January from 12.30 – 2.30pm to have a chat or contact 020 7882 8669 (women) 020 7882 8660 (men.)
For a full list of healthy sessions and planned activities in the New Year visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/gethealthy.

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