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Physical activity to keep you healthy

Our physical activity programme

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. To stay healthy, at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week is recommended.

Increasing your levels of physical activity can help to:

  • control your weight
  • reduce the risk of long term health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancers and type 2 diabetes
  • strengthen your bones and muscles
  • improve mental health and mood

Whether you are completely new to sport or physical activity or would like to do a little more each day, we can help. Our programmes are designed to meet the needs of the local community.

Health walks

Walking is a great first step for people of all ages who do little or no exercise and who want to be more physically active. It is low cost and doesn’t require any special clothes or equipment. 

Regular walking can reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers. Additionally, it strengthens your bones and muscles, helps you to burn calories and can help to reduce stress.

Walking in a group is a great way to start walking, make new friends and to stay motivated. Our programmes are designed to help you to gradually walk faster and to go further over time. We help you to keep track of your progress with a walking journal; recording the date, time, and distance to help you get the maximum health benefits.

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By choosing to cycle some of your local journeys to school, work, or the shops, you can easily integrate gentle exercise into your daily routine.

The council offers free cycling training to anyone who lives, works or studies in the borough.

Find out more:

Cycling in the borough


Exercise for over 60s

Our Ageing Well programme is designed for people aged over 60 to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.

Sessions are available seven days a week at a variety of times and include:

  • zumba gold
  • bingo
  • line dancing
  • tai chi
  • arts and craft

Residents can access a range of social and active sessions across the borough in leisure centres and Active Age centres including:


Membership is £52 per year for borough residents over 60. You will need to provide proof of age and address.

If you do not fit the criteria you can still take part for £2 per session.

Find out more about NewMe Healthy Lifestyle

Exercise on referral

Exercise on referral is a healthy living and exercise programme to help you improve your fitness and wellbeing.

Doctors and other health professionals can refer you onto the scheme if they believe you could improve your existing medical conditions with the take up of physical activity and some changes to your lifestyle.

Once accepted you will be invited to an initial one-on-one consultation with a lifestyle coach who will discuss your health needs and goals. The instructor will also take measurements including:

  • weight
  • blood pressure
  • waist circumference
  • heart rate

Following this, you will take part in a 12 week exercise programme which ends with a final consultation. Graduates of the programme are offered discounted leisure centre membership to help continue with their lifestyle change.


To join the Exercise on referral programme you must be a Barking and Dagenham resident, aged 18 and over with one or more of these conditions:

  • hypertension
  • diabetes type I or II controlled
  • hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol)
  • cancer
  • mild to moderate depression, stress or anxiety
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • rheumatoid arthritis or osteoporosis

Find out more about NewMe Healthy Lifestyle