Are you an Eastleigh Undefeatable?

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A national campaign to encourage people with long-term conditions to share ideas of how they get active is being given a local focus by Eastleigh Borough Council’s SportWorks team.

We Are Undefeatable is funded by the National Lottery through Sport England and works with multiple health and social care charities who support people with a range of long-term health conditions. It helps find ways to be active that work with each person’s health condition, not against them.

We Are Undefeatable Eastleigh have released the first two personal stories and will be sharing more throughout the year. They include Rosie, from Boyatt Wood who has chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) and lives with depression, and Ellie who has psoriatic arthritis.

Rosie battles with the stigma attached to invisible conditions. Her ME can make exercise difficult as symptoms include muscle and joint pain. However, she has recognised how beneficial exercise and connecting with the outdoors can be, especially for her depression, but also for ME when her body allows. Rosie has used home Pilates and then Pokémon Go to extend walks and make them more exciting. They have helped her throughout the pandemic.

Rosie says: ‘You can’t ever fully explain the positive difference it makes to your mental health. It is so easy to say it releases endorphins and you can be sceptical, but I can say that it really does.’

Ellie is a keen mountain biker and has been managing her psoriatic arthritis symptoms for many years. Modifying and adapting have helped her to find a new relationship with sport and exercise. Ellie loves natural environments – and the social side to exercising is her biggest motivator. Doing the Couch to 5k programme was a struggle in the first lockdown but with some encouragement she started enjoying it, and by week six she joined a beginner running club. It’s all about finding something fun and not putting pressure on yourself.

‘I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it. But the feeling when I did it was amazing. The only thing stopping me was me’, says Ellie.

Later in the year, the team plans to work with targeted local groups to support projects to help that community get more active. In the meantime the team are are building a network of charities, activity providers, groups and individuals who connect with the campaign. The group will provide an opportunity to share insight and practical examples as well as facilitating partnerships.

The Council’s SportWorks team is asking residents who have a long-term health condition if they would be happy to share their story as to how they have kept active over the pandemic – why not become an Eastleigh Undefeatable?

Cabinet Member for Health, Councillor Tonia Craig, said: ‘As a Council we’re committed to improving the health and wellbeing of all our residents, including putting measures in place that increase the quality of life for people with long-term conditions. We’d encourage anyone to take that important first step – it can help people manage their conditions better, and the results can be amazing.’