Old tricks used in new fitness drive

James Garrity (left) and Liam Ford on space hoppers.
James Garrity (left) and Liam Ford on space hoppers.

AN old favourite is being brought back for a new generation by health chiefs battling childhood obesity.

James Garrity and Liam Ford, both members of Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Ashington-based Get Active Northumberland team, are bouncing back to the 1970s by using space hoppers and stilt-walking to inspire today’s youngsters to get fit.

James, a health improvement practitioner, said: “You hardly ever see kids out on space hoppers any more.

“They’re more likely to be sitting in front of a computer on their warfare games, so Liam and I decided to go retro and reintroduce some 1970s-style fitness that kids and their parents can enjoy for free.”

Liam, a health trainer, added: “At first, they look at the space hoppers and go ‘no chance’, but once they get on them, they really get into it.”

There are 15 programmes in Northumberland running across three different age groups.

One for children five and under and has 67 parents and 151 youngsters on it, and a further 54 families are involved in the programme for children aged seven to 13.

Sessions are currently running at Ashington Leisure Centre and the Bede Academy in Blyth.

For more information on courses, e-mail gan@nct.nhs.uk or ring (01670) 784183.

James added: “For some people, losing weight is a case of life or death. You are putting years back on their lives, and that’s why Liam and I love our jobs.”