IT’S hardly a secret that exercise leads to a longer life, but the NHS has launched a push to get older people in Oxfordshire fighting fit.

The county’s primary care trust, NHS Oxfordshire, is encouraging county residents to stay fit into old age with an ‘active ageing network’ programme.

Regular exercise can lower the risk of serious conditions, such as stroke, heart disease and cancer.

The trust says it can also help reduce the number of older people who suffer falls. The most frequent and serious types of accident in the over 65s, are falls which kill one older person every five hours nationwide.

NHS Oxfordshire hopes by setting up health walks, dance classes, and ‘posture classes’ it can tackle the problem.

To develop the network, NHS Oxfordshire wants to hear from older people about what they do to keep active.

Kate King, the trust’s health improvement principal, said being active was one of the best ways to maintain health.

She added: “Exercise can add years to our lives, but most importantly, it keeps us happy and helps us maintain our independence as we age.

“Being active helps to make you feel good, increase your energy levels, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress and sleep better.

“Also physical activities such as walking groups or local classes provide a great opportunity to get out and meet new people.”

Sevgi Long, from Marston is only 61 but believes exercise is important at any age.

Mrs Long, who has two adult sons, works at Ferry Leisure Centre on reception but can be found in the gym most days of the week.

Mrs Long said: “I think it’s so important to keep fit and healthy.

“Exercise makes you feel so much better, not just physically but mentally too. I feel so much happier when I’ve exercised.

“I have always enjoyed sport but these days I enjoy running and swimming, and I cycle everywhere.”

The trust will use feedback from its survey to develop more classes.

To download the survey, go to To get a hard-copy version of the survey, which can be returned freepost to NHS Oxfordshire, call Annika Howard on 01865 334643.