To celebrate National Fitness Day, people in Dorchester were encouraged to embrace a healthier lifestyle.

Dorchester Sports Centre led the way, hosting an array of free fitness classes and consultations to encourage people to get moving.

The free exercise initiative was organised by not-for-profit leisure trust, 1610, which manages 19 leisure centres based on school sites across Somerset, Devon and Dorset.

Throughout the day residents took part in a whole host of activities including yoga, zumba and cycling.

School children were also invited to get active with pupils from the Prince of Wales school taking to the pool and students from Thomas Hardye hitting the gym.

The centre’s free fitness day was part of a West Country-wide initiative to tackle childhood obesity.

According to figures from Public Health England one in five children are obese or overweight when they start school.

These figures rise to one in three when they leave Primary school.

Childhood obesity is associated with poor psychological and emotional health, poor sleep, and many children experience bullying linked to their weight.

Obese children are more likely to become obese adults and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood.

A spokesman for 1610 said the centre’s attendance figures were up 19 per cent from the previous Wednesday showing the free activities really did encourage people to exercise. To get even more children moving across the county, The centre sent out specially commissioned ten-minute exercise videos to schools and nurseries in Dorset.

Marketing executive for 1610, Paul Stimpson was delighted with the success of the day.

He said: the videos were a new initiative to encourage children and adults whatever their age to get active.“The videos are very user friendly and will show everyone from nursery age children to teenagers that exercise is fun, and easy to fit in to a regular routine. “The stats on childhood obesity are quite shocking and it is well known that being inactive at a young age is a great threat to health and wellbeing as eating a fast food diet. “There are simple lifestyle changes that children and young adults can do which can lead to a prolonged long, happy and healthy life.”