A HEALTHY living scheme which helps people to get active has remained fighting fit during the pandemic.

'Live Active', an exercise referral scheme run by Inverclyde Leisure in partnership with the health board, has adapted to continue supporting locals.

It has been operating for 11 years and usually offers a variety of specialised activity classes within Inverclyde Leisure facilities, such as individual and group gym sessions and swimming.

Those on the programme have been referred to it by medical professionals.

Advisors Dianne Mackenzie and Derek Barnes were determined not to allow the pandemic to set the service back.

They have adapted it to offer online and phone support.

Derek said: "We have been continuing to support clients via email and telephone calls.

"Thanks to advancements in technology face to face motivational interviews can now take place using an NHS video appointment set up, which has been very popular.

"This has allowed us to prescribe exercise sessions to follow at home that are safe and suitable for each individual’s needs, with special consideration being taken into existing medical conditions and abilities."

With Inverclyde's short stint at Level 2 of the Scottish Government's Covid-19 rules, the team had hoped to recommence activities in centres across Inverclyde, only for the new Covid strain and lockdown to intervene.

However, Diane says they were ready for it and will continue to work as they have been for the past nine months.

She said: "It is very important for our clients to remain active during this unparalleled time, in order to continue to manage any pre-existing medical conditions and maintain physical and mental health benefits.

"We had hoped to get things back up and running, but will just need to hold off until a time that it is safe to do so.

"Many of our patients have been in total isolation and shielding due to having complex conditions, so exercising at home has helped them tremendously."

The dynamic duo have also been using the NHS video conferencing tool to maintain the relationships with those who attend.

Both Diane and Derek want to remind people that their services are still available to those who need them.

Diane said: "We are still here and accepting new referrals, but understandably people may be reluctant to go to their GP at the moment.

"Everything can be done over the phone and we are reminding people we're here to help - especially when so many will be understandably feeling anxious and stressed at this time."

For more information on the Live Active scheme, visit bit.ly/3mJAbm9