Find your local service to improve your physical and mental wellbeing this year

One You fitness classes 3

JANUARY is a time of year when many people take stock and set resolutions to make changes. Whether you are doing Dry January, Veganuary, or have made a resolution to improve your health, making a pledge doesn’t necessarily mean having to join a gym.

There are lots of ways in which you can improve your physical and mental wellbeing this year, with plenty of local services you can use from the Council and partner organisations, whatever your age, or ability, or need. 



The Council has different initiatives and services for people wanting to become more active in the New Year. There are many affordable community fitness classes on offer, in community venues across the borough. The Council’s OneYou timetable runs over 40 classes every week on 26 estates with something for everyone regardless of your age and fitness level. There’s Box Fit, Zumba, kids’ karate and chair yoga to name a few and each class only costs £2. 

If you are thinking of joining a gym why not join one of the borough’s six Better Leisure Centres including Brittania, Clissold, Hackney Marshes, Kings Hall, London Fields Lido, Queensbridge Sports and Community Centre and West Reservoir Centre. There will be special offers for residents looking to join in the New Year. 

If gyms or fitness classes don’t appeal why not join a walking or running group? There are over 20 groups organising walking tours and runs across the borough. 

Hackney also has nearly 60 green spaces dotted around the borough including seven major parks such as Clissold Park, London Fields and Hackney Marshes for people wanting to take regular walks or jogs in a green space. Going for a walk can also be a positive step for your mental health and well being. 


Stop Smoking

Regular physical activity can have multiple health benefits such as reducing your risk of cancer. Giving up smoking can also reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases. If you are thinking of quitting this New Year, Hackney’s Stop Smoking Service lists more than 50 places in Hackney where you can go for help, advice and support to quit smoking. 


Responsible drinking

Reducing or giving up alcohol can also be a good move at this time of year. Campaigns like Dry January are designed to help. You can sign up at dryjanuary.org.uk, download the app onto your phone to help you stay on track and monitor your journey through January. A month’s break from alcohol can help you lose weight, improve your sleep and your health. If you take part in Dry January you are more likely to drink less riskily six months later. Giving up alcohol and quitting smoking can also have a positive impact on your mental health and wellbeing too. 

Do you know how risky your drinking is? Take the Hackney Alcohol Test to find out, and receive advice and information on how to reduce any risks. 

If you would like further advice and information on your alcohol intake, pop along to a session offering healthier lifestyle coaching, aimed at helping people drink responsibly. The clinics are available in seven GP surgeries across Hackney. An Alcohol Specialist Worker will provide an assessment and offer you bespoke support and advice for up to 10 sessions. You do not need to be a registered patient at these GP surgeries to access the clinics. 


Healthier eating

If you want to think about healthy eating, follow the Sugar Smart Hackney campaign for simple steps to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Schools and organisations can also get involved by making Sugar Smart pledges to introduce healthy school snacks and meals this year. There are also free or low cost Cook and Eat courses for residents in Hackney to help you create healthy meals on a budget. 


Steps for wellbeing and mental health

Above all else at this time of year take the time to look after yourself. Hackney’s Five to Thrive campaign has 5 simple steps that you can take now and at any other time of year to look after yourself. The 5 steps are:

  • Connect - social relationships are important for wellbeing and act as an effective buffer against mental ill health 
  • Be active - regular exercise is linked to lower rates of depression and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be a particularly intense work out to feel good 
  • Take notice - take some time to enjoy the moment. There are plenty of things to enjoy and see in Hackney 
  • Keep learning - setting goals, particularly in learning for adults, has been strongly linked to higher levels of wellbeing 
  • Give - carrying out one act of kindness each week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

The Mental Health Foundation also has some tips for coping at this time of year and information about where you can get help and support.

To find any of the services mentioned above, click on this map to find locations, dates, times and contact details.