Fit for 2007

All venues, all year, times vary

HEALTH AND WELLBEING

As I write, the sun kisses rain-damp pavements outside my window, but it’s likely to be only a respite in a month of cashless gloom and bad weather-induced misery. Indeed, University of Cardiff psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall declares 24 January to be the most depressing day of the year, and it’s no surprise that most New Year’s resolutions don’t last past the end of January.

What’s more, every year heralds a new report stating that LGBT folks smoke more, drink more and take more drugs than our straight brethren. Is there a special case to be made for promoting healthy lifestyles to queer chaps and chapesses? Is there a reason why we favour delicious vice over healthy virtue?

‘Historically, in terms of trying to create safe places for LGBT people, we have revolved around pubs and clubs,’ says the project manager of Edinburgh’s LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing (pictured), Steve Aitken. Our attitudes to exercise ‘may well be coloured by people’s experience of activity at school, in terms of bullying. Also, if you have low self-esteem, you’re not particularly bothered about taking care of yourself.

‘On the positive side, there are a wide range of groups which offer leisure activities to LGBT people.’ The centre’s open day in February provides a chance to find out about these groups. So what’s the best way to stay motivated and keep fit in 2007? ‘Don’t use the car when you could walk, and take the stairs instead of the lift. Try to plan your physical activity, and reward yourself in a way which is healthy.’

LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing Open Day, Sat 10 Feb, 2-5pm, 9 Howe Street, Edinburgh. Visit www.lgbthealth.org.uk or phone 0131 523 1100 for details.

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