CUT-price sessions in pole-dancing, boxing and a host of other unusual sports have helped encourage more people in Hastings to exercise.
Figures released by Sport England this month show the town - which has traditionally been dogged with high levels of obesity and health problems related to a lack of exercise - is gradually becoming more active.
And the local authority is putting the steady increase in the number of people getting a sweat on down to its successful Active Hastings project.
When the scheme was first launched back in 2006, Hastings was officially the least active town in the whole of the south east with just 16.7 per cent of the local people regularly participating in sport.
But according to the new figures, this has increased to 20.4 per cent, making Hastings one of only 38 local authorities in the country (out of 323) to achieve such a significant increase over the last five years. The figure shows the percentage of the adult population (age 16 years and over) who participate in sport or exercise for at least 30 minutes a day for at least 12 days out of the four weeks prior to being quizzed.
And because of the increased uptake in the subsidised sessions put on at sports venues across the town, Hastings has subsequently leap-frogged 12 other local authorities in the south east and is now no longer the wheezing sofa-bound poor relation of the region.
A spokesman for Hastings Borough Council was delighted with the findings. He said: “Active Hastings has worked hard to motivate and encourage residents to take part in sport.
“They’ve made sessions inclusive, removing obstacles which research identified as responsible for the lack of participation, from providing childcare facilities to making classes affordable.”
Active Hastings’s spring programme runs until the end of this month with classes like aerial acrobatics, bowls, trampolining, pole dancing, netball and beginners fishing on offer.
For more information either visit www.activehastings.org.uk or call 01424 451051.