ACTIVE Essex is supporting a Sport England campaign to inspire 27,343 people across Colchester with limiting long-term health conditions to become more active.

The ‘We Are Undefeatable’ initiative aims to reassure and support people to be more active by highlighting the personal journeys of others with chronic conditions.

According to research by Sport England, those with long-term health conditions are twice as likely to be inactive.

Throughout the campaign, Active Essex will be hosting a variety of long-term condition awareness workshops for sport and physical activity providers in the region.

The sessions will focus on how exercise can help manage the symptoms of chronic illnesses such as cancer, dementia and diabetes.

Active Essex will also share inspiring stories from local people who have overcome barriers to physical activity themselves, to encourage the 16 per cent of Colchester residents who suffer with long-term illnesses to get more active and enjoy the benefits that exercise can bring.

Billy Ray Mansell is an Active Essex Coach Core Apprentice who suffers with fibromyalgia, a long-term condition characterised by chronic widespread pain and fatigue.

Billy said: “When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I was in a very bad place. I was on lots of medication and both my mental and physical health had deteriorated substantially.

“Beginning to exercise again changed everything for me.

"I started off with low-impact movements, then moved onto trying other activities such as inclusive football, yoga, cycling and much more.

"For people who don’t know where to begin, it’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new activities until you find something you enjoy.”

Leading health and social care charities have come together to back the campaign including Age UK, Breast Cancer Now, British Red Cross and Macmillan Cancer Support.

Dr Hasan Chowhan, GP and Chairman of the North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Exercise is extremely beneficial for the management of a variety of long-term health conditions.

"It can improve respiratory function, help with maintaining a healthy weight, support the health of muscles, bones and joints, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

“There is a form of exercise to suit everyone – the NHS website has a range of fitness tips and exercises to try, including the Couch to 5K programme. Adding exercise into your routine is one of the best ways to improve your health and wellbeing.”