Consultants and professionals gave the facility, which is due to open on Saturday 24 March, their full backing during a visit to the construction site.
Plymouth City Council pledged to make its biggest ever investment in leisure facilities after research commissioned by Sport England highlighted that more than half of Plymouth residents do not take part in any fitness or sporting activity – which was above the national average.
The study, which the Council is using to develop a sport facility strategy for the city, found more than 12 per cent of adults aged 18 or over were obese and only a quarter did ‘regular and sustained’ sporting or fitness activities.
The Plymouth Life Centre, which will be operated by Everyone Active in partnership with the Council, will create a regional centre of sporting excellence and provide an Olympic-sized 50-metre swimming pool with moveable floors and flexible booms, diving pool, climbing wall, multi-use sports hall, fitness suite and bowls rink.
Ernesettle-based GP, Doctor Daffyd Jones, said: “I think the Plymouth Life Centre provides a wonderful opportunity to experience and enjoy sport and leisure. There’s no doubt that exercise is therapeutic for a number of common health problems including high blood pressure, obesity, stress, and depression. An opportunity to engage the people of Plymouth in many of the activities offered by the Plymouth Life Centre will undoubtedly have a significant positive impact on the physical and psychological well-being of individuals across the city. I really think that the impressive facility will improve how people view sport and leisure, such that it becomes an integral part of their lifestyle. They will feel better as a result.”
Professor Debra Lapthorne, Director of Public Health for Plymouth, said:" The Plymouth Life Centre brings together a whole range of sports facilities on one site. Regular exercise will make you feel more energetic and there is some limited research suggesting that moderate exercise can strengthen the immune system and reduce your risk of coughs and colds. The new Plymouth Life Centre will have lots of choice so choose an activity you enjoy. When starting a new exercise regime, build up slowly and work towards achieving a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity at least five times a week, which is the recommended amount for adults."
Doctor Peter Rudge, local GP at the forefront of clinical commissioning developments in Plymouth, added: “We’ve known for many years that exercise, being physically active, can help people lead a healthier and even happier life. People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. Physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Local and convenient opportunities to exercise are important and the Plymouth Life Centre will be a great asset to the city and the wider region.”
Professor Sarah Watson-Fisher, Chief Nurse for the Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I was very impressed by the facilities we saw during our visit to the Plymouth Life Centre. The variety of activities available is very inclusive, offering everyone – whatever their level of fitness - an opportunity to improve their fitness and get active. It is a facility that the city should be very proud of.”
Council Leader Vivien Pengelly, said: “We hope the Plymouth Life Centre will encourage people of all ages to lead more healthy and active lifestyles. We want to support life-long participation of sport and regular physical activity and to enable everyone to be as good as they want to be. I’m certain that it will not only put the South West on the sporting map but, more importantly, lead to a marked improvement in the overall health and wellbeing of our communities.
“We want to change attitudes – we’re not in this for the short-term; we’re in for the long haul. Whether you play bowls or netball, dance, take part in martial arts, climb, abseil or just enjoy going to the gym, there will be something on offer for everyone, regardless of age, background, sporting ability or fitness. We want to inspire people to achieve.”
The Plymouth Life Centre will provide some of the best leisure facilities of their kind in the South West and will play host to local, national and international events once completed. In the run-up to the Olympics this year, the Canadian diving team and some of the UK squad will train at the Plymouth Life Centre, along with the Lithuanian swimming team.
For more information visit www.plymouth.gov.uk/lifecentre.
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