Combatting obesity with free exercise classes
A healthy diet alone is insufficient, said the NHS
Rising obesity rates in Scotland have led to free exercise classes being offered around Glasgow, in a bid to help people get healthier.
According to statistics from the Scottish Government, in 2015, 65% of adults aged 16 years and over were overweight and 29% of them were obese.
In an interview with the Daily Record, Linda Bauld, a cancer prevention expert working for Cancer Research UK, said: “Obesity is linked to 13 types of cancer, including bowel, breast and pancreatic cancer. If left unchecked, we run the risk of obesity becoming a crippling burden on society and the NHS.”
Children are not spared either, as Cancer Research UK’s studies shows that around 83,000 Scottish children started primary school being obese in the last 10 years.
Many initiatives have been put in place by different organisations in Glasgow to help people get healthier.
For instance, Obesity Action Scotland, which was founded by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and Faculties in Scotland and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, is campaigning against unhealthy food and portion sizes.
Lorraine Tulloch, programme lead at Obesity Action Scotland, said: “It was founded to create clinical leadership on obesity as it is one of the greatest public health challenges Scotland faces.”
She added: “We undertake campaigning at a national level on our priority issues. This aims to build public, professional and political support for changes in strategy and legislation to tackle the food environment in Scotland so that the healthy choice is the easy choice. We are asking the Scottish Government to include in its forthcoming diet and obesity strategy action on: price promotions of unhealthy food, advertising and marketing of unhealthy food and portion size.”
However, a healthy lifestyle does not solely entail eating healthy food and losing weight. Exercise is key: According to the National Health Services (NHS), physical activity can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower the risk of early death by up to 30%.
Around Glasgow, there are free exercise classes, such as weekly Saturday yoga classes at the Lululemon Athletica shop in the city centre.
The Canadian yoga wear company, founded in 1998, has two shops in Scotland – one in Glasgow and another in Edinburgh. It has been offering complementary classes since its launch at both locations.
The Glasgow shop’s manager, Rachel Mathia, explains: “We are community-focused, and one way of connecting with our community is by organising these free classes.”
Kate Cohen, a yoga instructor at Lululemon, said: “When I was asked to teach a class here, I gladly accepted. I think it can be intimidating and expensive to start a new workout class, and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. I think it’s nice because there are many different styles of workouts and these classes allow people to try it out and get a feel for it in a friendly atmosphere.”
Another initiative is Yogability, a charity created in 2013, which focuses on providing yoga classes to children and adults with special needs and their carers.
The public can also access yoga classes around Glasgow on a donation basis, which helps to fund the charity.