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Do you need help to get more active? Talk to FitLine

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“You can’t turn back the clock but you can wind it back up” -that’s the idea behind the Go for Life FitLine, says Mairead McLoughlin, a volunteer mentor for the telephone support service, which is aimed at people who need a little help to get more active.

Mairead has been inspiring and motivating people to get active with Fitline for the last three years.

“I first heard about the Go for Life Fitline in our Family Resource Centre in Kilcross, when the centre was being considered as a location for the calls to be made. It was a new service to try and get older people who may not be part of a club or organisation to get active by supporting them by way of a telephone call. I was asked to do mentor training, which was based on the way the smokers quit line operates – motivation and gentle persuasion.

Every second Tuesday, Mairead, and the other volunteers in the Kilcross group, are given a list of names by Go For Life, to ring and to support.

“The idea is that we are helping people to help themselves so we don’t dole out advice as such. Instead, we discuss what exercise they might like to do, what goals they could set for themselves and how they are getting on with achieving these goals. Even the fact that people know we are going to call is a great motivator to be more active. We log all the calls so that we can follow and share each participant’s progress with them.

FitLine has made a great difference, not just to me but also to my fellow mentors in Kilcross. We decided that if we are going to be encouraging people to get active, well we should be too. So we have developed a walking group and go for weekly and sometimes twice-weekly walks. I am also able to advise friends, neighbours and family about the benefits of walking and general physical activity. Some of us even did the mini-marathon this year in support of Age & Opportunity who are the organisation behind the Go for Life programme.

Since I have been involved in FitLine, I have also gone to the Go for Life Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) workshops and joined over 900 volunteers all around the country leading their groups and communities in short exercise routines, different kinds of dancing, fun games and recreational sports. Each year in Autumn, we apply for a Go for Life grant and, so far, we have used the money to try out bowling, aquafit and tai-chi classes as well as buying some equipment to use in our Go for Life sessions.

I would urge anyone to get involved in Go for Life. If you are a member of a group already, then consider training as a PAL with a few of your colleagues and you will get lots of ideas about how to lead and promote sport and physical activity. If you aren’t in a group and you want to get more active call Fitline. On the other end of the line, you will find other people, just like you, who will give you information, advice and gentle encouragement to make that first move... and then keep moving.”

To get involved or to find out more, freephone FitLine on 1800 303 545

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