People across the Fylde Coast are encouraged to think about making a commitment to improve their health this January.

Simple resolutions such as quitting smoking or eating more healthily can go a long way to improving personal health.

Many people do not exercise enough – and making a resolution to do so regularly can dramatically improve health. Exercise reduces the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lowers the chance of early death by up to 30%.

Regular exercise doesn’t have to mean running a marathon every week. Moderate-intensity exercise is enough to raise a person’s heart raise and break sweat. This could include:

  • Walking fast
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bicycle
  • A light jog

Recommended physical activity levels vary depending upon age. Children aged under five should do 180 minutes every day, young adults from five to 18 years old should exercise for 60 minutes a day. Adults over 19 should aim to get 150 minutes of exercise per week.

Dr Amanda Doyle, Chief Clinical Officer of NHS Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Physical activity and lifestyle are two of the four Tangerine Targets in the Altogether Now – a Legacy for Blackpool campaign, our partnership programme delivered with Blackpool FC and Blackpool Council. Changes must occur in these two areas if the health of people across Blackpool is to improve.

“Exercising more is a good commitment to make in the New Year. The benefits of regular exercise are well documented. From improved heart and lung health, to increased self-esteem and confidence, the effort is certainly worth it. People of all ages should endeavour to exercise regularly.”

In conjunction with more exercise, a nutritious balanced diet consisting of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats can dramatically improve health.

Dr Tony Naughton, Clinical Chief Officer of NHS Fylde and Wyre CCG, said: “Making a commitment to eat a healthier diet is often very difficult for some people, but with a little determination alongside the help and support from local services it is certainly possible.”

Many people also struggle in their fight to give up smoking. But by making a commitment to quit in January, local doctors are hoping that many smokers can kick the habit.

Stop smoking services are available throughout Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre and since January 2013 2,733 people across the Fylde coast have set a quit date and 1,332 people have stopped smoking at four weeks.

“Giving up smoking will dramatically improve your health and there is a range of excellent NHS support to help. I would urge smokers to quit smoking immediately for the good of their health. Make 2014 the year you quit smoking,” said Dr Naughton.

Public Health England has also launched a Smokefree Health Harms campaign highlighting the impact and serious damage that smoking causes to the body.

Dr Arif Rajpura, Director of Public Health in Blackpool, said: “Smoking does much more damage to the body than people think, it goes beyond affecting just the heart and lungs. Toxins from cigarettes that enter the blood can also cause potential damage to the brain and other vital organs.

“Too many people underestimate the health harms associated with smoking. One in two smokers dies prematurely from smoking related diseases, which shows just what a deadly habit it can be. That is why we are urging people to quit this New Year.”

There is plenty of support, advice and a range of tools available for anybody wishing to stop smoking.

To access your local stop smoking service please call:

  • Blackpool residents: Blackpool stop smoking service, tel: 01253 651570
  • Fylde and Wyre residents: North Lancashire stop smoking service, tel: 01524 845145