People are being encouraged to take simple steps towards living a healthier lifestyle by getting involved in one of the many free activities held in Wolverhampton's parks and green spaces.

From outdoor gyms to Walking for Health groups, parkruns to Toddle Waddles, parks across the city host a range of events to help people young and old improve their fitness levels.

This week is JanUary - a week long campaign by the National Obesity Forum calling on people to make small lifestyle changes to improve their health and wellbeing - and health chiefs are urging Wulfrunians to take advantage of the many free activities on their doorstep.

Walking for Health in Wolverhampton offers a programme of more than 40 regular walks, especially suited for people who don't do much walking but want to get healthier, fitter and be happier.

Walks are over distances of between 1 and 3 miles, or durations of up to 30 minutes and between half an hour to an hour and a half, meaning there is something for all abilities. Many include the chance to enjoy refreshments at the end, such as at the popular cafes at West Park and Bantock Park.

Parents and toddlers don't miss out, as they have special walks of their very own. The Toddle Waddles, 1 mile health walks taking place at West Park on Tuesdays and East Park on Wednesdays, are aimed at parents, carers and grandparents with babies and toddlers in buggies, slings or simply toddling along.

For more details about Walking for Health sessions and the Toddle Waddles, please call 0800 073 4242 or visit Type=links;Linkid=6775;Title=Walking for Health;Target=_blank;.

Walking for Health has also recently launched a new fortnightly walk for people with hearing impairments. The mile long Wednesday walk is led by British Sign Language trained walkers and suitable for people of all ages. For details, please text 07717 498639 or email

For those who prefer to run rather than walk, parkrun Wolverhampton gives adults and young people aged 14 and over the chance to test themselves on a 5km run around West Park every Saturday morning. Though it is not a race, participants are timed and encouraged to improve on their personal best each week. More information is available at Type=links;Linkid=6402;Title=Wolverhampton Parkrun;Target=_blank;.

For younger runners, a new Wednesfield Junior parkrun is held over a 2km course every Sunday morning at Wednesfield Park and is suitable for children aged from 4 to 14. Find out more at Type=links;Linkid=6523;Title=Wednesfield Junior Parkrun;Target=_blank;.

Meanwhile, the mental health charity MIND is launching the Jolly Joggers, a new 12 week exercise programme for people to improve their mental wellbeing, this weekend. The Jolly Joggers will meet every Saturday at West Park, with participants invited to walk, jog or run around the park. For more information, please call James Austin at Dudley Mind on 01384 442938 or email

Some 25 of Wolverhampton's parks and green spaces also offer outdoor gyms - a range of free to use fitness equipment including air walkers, exercise bikes and chest presses which people can enjoy in any weather. These "trim trails" can be found in across the city, with each trail offering a different range of equipment.

Cyclists are well catered for, too, with cycle routes criss-crossing Wolverhampton. A Wolverhampton Cycle map can be downloaded Type=links;Linkid=6776;Title=here;Target=_blank;. Adults and children who are either a bit rusty or haven't learned how to ride can get free cycle training from Bikeright. For details, please visit Type=links;Linkid=6777;Title=BikeRight;Target=_blank;.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "There is an incredible range of activities and events taking place right across the city for people who want to improve their fitness levels, and I'd encourage anyone who has made it their new year's resolution to be healthier in 2016 to take advantage of them.

"Exercise is key to helping people maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of developing certain diseases, including type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

"Not only are these free sessions an excellent way to bring a little more exercise into your regular routine, but they are also great fun and a chance to meet new people."

  • released: Thursday 14 January, 2016