Stroud District Council

Stroud District Direct

With the growing incidence of coronary heart disease, obesity and diabetes in today's society, medical practitioners are continually looking for ways to improve the health and well being of the nation. Good healthy lifestyles combined with regular physical activity can provide significant benefits in increasing longevity and improve general well-being.

This section of the website provides information on a wide range of health initiatives that are taking place across the district. In addition, there is also a wealth of information of lifestyle issues such as healthy eating, physical activity, stress management and smoking cessation.

In this Section

Lottery funded logo

“Stroud District Council as part of ‘Be Healthy Gloucestershire' has recently been awarded a Big Lottery grant to help support the coordination of it's health initiatives for two years”

healthy lifestyles

Physical Activity Referral Scheme (PARS)

Healthy Lifestyles has been successfully running in Dursley since 1995. The scheme consists of a partnership between Stroud District Council, Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust and Parkwood Leisure. In 2005 the scheme was rolled out to the Stroud area and now operates at Stratford Park Leisure Centre, Dursley Pool and Wotton Sports Centre.

For further information please contact Jane Bullows on 01453 754322.

The scheme enables individuals to be referred by their GP/practice nurse to a variety of activities in order to improve a certain medical condition. Generally, any patients that have one of the following conditions may be eligible to join the scheme:

  • High blood pressure
  • Over weight
  • Diabetes (Type II)
  • Depression / Stress
  • Asthmatic
  • Pre/post natal
  • Osteoporosis

The scheme lasts for a 12 weeks and is supervised by a qualified exercise professional. All the staff are registered with the Register for Exercise Professionals REPS.

Health Walks

The Stroud District is situated in the South of the Cotswold's and has been designated an area of outstanding natural beauty and a natural choice for anyone interested in walking.

Not only does walking allow you to take in the outstanding scenery around the five valleys but also offers a number of benefits to your health including:

  • Walking is great for fun and fitness
  • Walking benefits health and well-being
  • Walking is suitable for all ages
  • Discover attractive and interesting places to walk
  • Revisit favourite places
  • A chance to meet new people
  • Most walks are inexpensive

Throughout the district we co-ordinate with a number of WfH (walking for health) accredited led health walks. These are held regularly and are led by fully qualified volunteer walk leaders. This allows for a walk that is structured, risk assessed, the right intensity and of course, so you don't get lost!

For more information contact Jane Bullows on 01453 754322, alternatively email

Useful Links

Strolling in Stroud District Website -

Walking to Health Initiative -

Children's Referral Scheme

Result! – Children’s Referral Scheme

‘Result’ is a scheme aimed at helping children become more active and healthy. The scheme involves a 12-week programme which provides children aged 6-16yrs the opportunity to join the Shokk gym at Dursley Pool and swim and exercise classes at reduced cost, with a view to improving their health and joining the gym/pool fully after 12 months.

Dance on Prescription

Dance on Prescription

Anyone can enjoy dancing regardless of their age, background, shape or size and whether or not they have danced before. Dance on prescription is a scheme provided by Stroud District Council via your local doctors and nurses referrals. Dance can make an enormous contribution in helping you become more physically active and improving your general health and well being. The scheme involves a 12-week course aimed at helping people learn the basics of multi dance styles in a fun, low-intensity environment.

The scheme was piloted in Cam in2009/10 with salsa ands pending funding may continue in 2011 with more multi style classes (TBC).

In order for patients to be referred onto the scheme they must live within the Stroud District. For more information please Jane Bullows on 01453 754322.

View BBC Points West footage of the salsa dance pilot scheme

healthy lifestyles

Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase IV

Cardiac Rehabilitation classes offer people that have previously suffered a cardiac episode the opportunity to exercise in safe and friendly environment with highly trained exercise professionals from the British Association of Cardiac Rehabilitation.

The class incorporates an activity session and lifestyle information on a range of issues such as diet, medication, stress and physical activity levels. The exercise session varies from circuit training, gym sessions or health walks.

People who attend these sessions have normally completed Phase III, however this is not essential. People with any of the following conditions may attend:

  • Post MI (Heart attack)
  • Stable angina
  • Post-CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft)
  • Post-Transplant
  • Post angioplasty
  • Implanted defibrillator
  • Post-valve replacement

Thursdays at Stratford Park Leisure Centre, Stroud

Fridays at Dursley community Centre


2pm – 3pm

To attend these sessions' patients must either be referred by a Phase III instructor or their GP/nurse. To be referred, your GP must fill in a referral form and then you will need to hold onto it and contact Jane Bullows on 01453 759322. .

Useful Links

British Heart Foundation -

British Cardiac Society -

Respiratory Exercise Class

healthy lifestylesThis is an exercise class for individuals who have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other associated respiratory conditions. The class consists of a low intensity workout in a safe and friendly environment. The class is specifically designed to help individuals reduce the symptoms and to improve functional independence. Individuals who have any of the following conditions can take part:

  • COPD i.e. Emphysema, Chronic Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD)

The class takes place every Wednesday morning from 11am-12pm at Stratford Park Leisure Centre in Stroud and is run by a fully qualified exercise instructor specialising in respiratory disease.

To attend these sessions, you will need to be referred by your GP using the specific respiratory rehab form available at your surgery. Once the form is complete, please contact our instructor Jeremy Bingham on 07748 539308 for details.

Home-based Exercise DVD

Stroud District Council have put together a DVD which has been developed to help people become more active in their own home, and in return improve their health.

The aim of the DVD is to offer a variety of exercises that will help strengthen the muscles, improve flexibility and to help people continue performing daily activities such as walking, gardening and housework

Exercise DVD

The DVD takes participants through 14 carefully chosen exercises giving clear demonstrations and instructions from qualified exercise professionals. The DVD is divided into six chapters:

  • the warm-up
  • the main section
  • the cool-down
  • mat work
  • relaxation
  • other local initiatives

View a Preview of the DVD (Opens in new window, wmv file)

To watch this preview you will need:
Windows Media Player for Microsoft Windows or Mac OS X

Community Exercise Classes


These classes provide recreational movement to music for men and women over sixty and for less able people of all ages. The aim of the class is to promote health, increase mobility and independence, improve strength, coordination and balance and to counteract loneliness and isolation, thereby enhancing the quality of life .

These classes take place all over the district at various locations. For more information contact Claire Bader on 07786 003993

Useful Links

Extend -

Tai Chi Qigong

Qigong is a formulated set of movements coordinated with the breath, primarily comprising of meditation, relaxation, breathing, static (e.g. standing meditations - Zhan Zhuang) and/or dynamic exercises (e.g. Tai Chi). Regular practice of these exercises increases the flexibility of the joints, ligaments and tendons.

General Keep-Fit Classes are also offered at various locations.

These classes take place all over the district at various locations. For more information contact Claire Bader on 07786 003993

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is important if we want to look after our bodies and make sure we have a good balanced diet. Eating is a very enjoyable part of our life. It doesn't mean you have to give up all the nice food that you like such as sweets, chocolate and cheese. It just means getting the right balance.

There are many different types of food and all of them provide essential nutrients and vitamins to make the body work.

The Balance of Good Health is a pictorial food guide showing the proportion and types of foods that are needed to make up a healthy balanced diet. The Balance of Good Health has been produced by the Food Standards Agency as a guide that aims to help people to understand and enjoy healthy eating. It is achieving the right balance and variety of foods that is important for health.

The types of food we eat can be divided into several categories; milk and dairy foods; meat, fish and alternatives; foods containing fat and foods containing sugar. Foods from the largest groups should be eaten most often and foods from the smallest group should be eaten least often. The guide is shaped like a dinner plate which has been designed to make healthy simpler to understand and interpret.

Fruit and vegetables - These types of food are very important in our diet. The Department of Health recommends that we eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day so that we reduce the risk of getting heart disease and some cancers.

Bread, cereals and potatoes - These types of food are known as starchy foods and should make up a large part of our diet. We must be careful though, because if we add oil to fry food like chips or lots of butter to bread we increase the fat content. These types of foods include; bread, rolls, pizza, pasta, rice, oats and noodles

Milk and dairy products - These types of foods contain calcium, which is vital for keeping our bones strong and healthy. These foods include Milk, cheese and yoghurt.

Meat and fish - These foods provide plenty of protein which is needed for growth and repairing the body. These types of foods include beef, pork, ham, lamb, chicken and fish.

Useful Links

Food Standard Agency -


Everyone reacts differently to situations and one person's challenge can be another's stress. Many people thrive under pressure, but when pressure becomes stress it can have an impact on your health.

Symptoms of stress

You may start to experience headaches, nausea and indigestion. You may breathe more quickly, perspire more, have palpitations or suffer from various aches and pains such as: chest pains, feeling sick, restlessness, nervous twitches, muscle spasms, sleeping problems, cramps or muscle spasms, frequent crying, a tendency to sweat, fainting spells, pins and needles and lack of appetite.

When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings including anxiety, fear, anger, frustration, and depression. These feelings can themselves produce physical symptoms making you feel even worse.

In addition, you may also behave differently. For example, you may become withdrawn, indecisive or inflexible. There may be a change in your sexual habits, and even if you were previously mild-mannered you may suddenly become verbally or physically aggressive.

Managing Stress

Most people have their own coping mechanism to manage stress. Others may manage their stress through exercise, relaxation and hobbies etc. Your GP surgery can give you more information on exercise referral or books on prescription.

Useful Links

Stress Management Society -

Physical Activity

Physical activity plays an important role in helping to stay fit and keep a healthy heart and body. There are many different types of physical activity that range from walking and gardening to playing sport. The types of physical activity you take part in depends on what you enjoy doing.

How much should I do? The current recommendation for adults is an accumulation of at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on at least five or more days a week.

Moderate intensity - means you breathe a little bit harder and feel a bit warmer than when not exercising. You should still be able to have a conversation. However if you can't say your telephone number in including dialling code without drawing breath, then you need to slow down a little bit.

It is important to note that the 30 minutes can be spread throughout the day e.g. two fifteen minute or three 10 minute sessions.

What can go wrong? If you fail to take part in regular physical activity your body may suffer in later life. These include: Coronary Heart Disease, Obesity (being overweight), Diabetes and arthritis.

Things to remember

It is important when taking part in physical activity that you follow a safe routine that prepares your body for exercise. The first thing you should do is to 'warm-up'. This involves slowly warming the body by doing light exercise and a few stretches for 5mins. This will help avoid injury. When you have finished the exercise you will need to 'cool down'. This is similar to the warm-up but this time you take it easy for the last 5mins during the activity and then stretch to finish. This will help flexibility and stop any muscular pain.


Whilst alcohol can be a source of pleasure and enjoyment, drinking too much or at the wrong times, can affect your health. To stay safe it is recommended that men have less than 3-4 units per day and women have less than 2-3 units per day.

It is generally accepted that one unit equals ½ pint of normal strength beer, or one small glass (125mls) of wine or one pub measure of spirit (25mls). Over the last few years the alcohol content in drinks has increased.

A pint of premium strength beer/lager is likely to contain 2.8 units while a 440ml can of super strength lager would contain 4 units.

Useful Links

Alcoholics Anonymous


Smoking increases the risk of having a heart attack by two or three times compared with the risk to non-smokers.

On the 1st of July 2007, virtually all enclosed public places and workplaces in England were designated smoke-free. This means that it is now against the law to smoke in the indoor parts of places such as pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes and restaurants, lunch rooms, membership clubs and shopping centres.

Most of us know the health risks associated with smoking and that smoking kills over 120,000 people every year.

Research shows that giving up on your own without any nicotine replacement (NRT) or Zyban can be successful for a few. However, if you use NRT/Zyban together with support, this more than doubles your chances of successfully quitting and staying quit. NRT products and Zyban are all available on prescription and we can arrange with your doctor to provide you with these proven aids to quitting.

Gloucestershire Smoking Advice Service is a free NHS service provided by Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust, which offers, support and advice to people who are motivated to quit smoking. They offer all smokers the opportunity to attend group sessions or see an adviser on a one-to-one basis either in your GP's surgery or at various locations throughout the county.

Perhaps you just wish to talk to someone about your smoking? If so, please give Gloucestershire Stop Smoking Advice Service a ring on 08454 220040. They have specially trained specialist advisers who are more than happy to give you advice and information.

Useful Links