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HEALTH & FITNESS

IN BRIEF

Council launches Bromsgrove leisure poll

Local residents in Bromsgrove,

Worcestershire, are being invited to have their say on the future of the town's leisure provision as part of a council consultation exercise. Bromsgrove District Council (BDC) will use comments to help shape the town centre regeneration project, which is being delivered in partnership with Worcestershire County Council. BDC aims to find out what residents think about the town's current leisure services and future needs as part of the consultation, with results due to be published in early summer.

New IOW running groups launched

A new running network,

designed to encourage people of all ages and abilities across the Isle of Wight (IOW) to become more active, has been launched. Forming part of the national Run in England initiative, Isle of Wight Council has unveiled the new scheme after training a total of 23 local runners to act as run leaders. UK Athletics helped the council to train the new leaders, which will help to offer flexible sessions that enable people to run, jog or walk at their own pace in a number of various island locations.

Council to help run Swindon facility

Swindon Borough Council has confirmed it has agreed to work alongside trustees of the town's Highworth Recreation Centre in a bid to secure its future. Highworth Recreation Trust asked the council to intervene after fears were raised about the facility's finances. Highworth Recreation Centre, which is registered as a charity, is a joint venture between SBC and the Centre Management Committee, in partnership with the trust.

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news & jobs at www.leisureopportunities.co.uk

Study reveals static stretching risks

University of Limerick research claims pre-exercise stretches can be detrimental

By Tom Walker

Static stretching performed before workouts or sport can be detrimental to performance, and even harmful, according to a new study. Kieran O'Sullivan, of the

University of Limerick, Ireland,

told Leisure Opportunities that

doing static stretching just before performing in a match or before exercising is a bad idea, as it could significantly reduces performance. "Many people might accept

this risk if this was associated with a reduced risk of injury," said O'Sullivan. "But there is actually no evidence that stretching just before exercise reduces the likelihood of injury. Instead, just before exercising we should do a warm-up including some aerobic exercise and some sport-specific drills that mimic the sport or activity we are about to perform."

Fitness First re- opens first club

Health club operator Fitness First has reopened its first ever club in Bournemouth following a £200,000 refurbishment. New features include a

dedicated spin studio, a large sauna and steam room, monsoon showers, free DVD hire and a bar. Fitness First managing

director John Gamble said: "By making clubs an inviting place to workout, as well as offering a host of other services and benefits to members, we hope people will visit more regularly and see the positive effects to their health."

The study suggests stretching does not reduce the risk of injuries

O'Sullivan went on to say

that if static stretching has any benefit, it has been shown to improve flexibility. "This effect is demonstrated in

a number of studies, and is likely to require several weeks of stretching to have a significant effect in the medium-term," he said. "I would compare static stretching to a weight-training pro- gramme. An athlete may wish

to improve muscle strength, but nobody would suggest doing a weights session just before a match as it depletes energy reserves, and reduces performance short-term. "Similarly, if static stretching is

being used to improve flexibility this should be practiced at times other than just before exercise e.g. after exercise and as part of an ongoing exercise programme."

£13m Rushden scheme deferred

By Pete Hayman

Plans for the new £13m Manor Park Leisure Centre in Rushden, Northamptonshire, have been deferred by East Northampton- shire Council (ENC). The council's development

control committee has ruled that further time is needed to negotiate on the exterior design of the planned complex. Concerns have also been

raised about the travel plan for the scheme, while internal modifications are required to cater for theatrical productions. Working alongside Rushden

Town Council, ENC's plans for the centre feature a six-lane, 25m swimming pool, a learner pool and a fitness suite.

Read Leisure Opportunities online www.leisureopportunities.com/digital

Plans will require alterations following the council's decision

Leisure water facilities; dance

and exercise studios; and a six-court sports hall also form part of the FaulknerBrowns Architects-designed proposals. The proposed venue is set to

replace the town's existing Splash Leisure Pool and Pemberton Centre, with ENC contributing up to £11m.

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