Exercise-shy people will have no excuses when it comes to getting into shape after the launch of a “fantastic” new campaign.

Harrow and Brent’s director of public health, Andrew Howe, is challenging residents to take part in his new Fab 'n' Fit programme and take up a new sport.

Championed by Barnet Borough Council, the free scheme supports people of all ages - regardless of age and disability.

For those who do not want to be cooped up in an indoor gym, outdoor exercise equipment has been installed in parks across the borough.

Others can sign up for a range of unique activities - including cheerleading, Nordic walking and fencing.

Dr Howe threw down the gauntlet to get more people exercising when they launched the campaign in Edgwarebury Park, Edgware, last week.

He said: “It’s a fantastic idea and a great way to get people moving. Your health matters, exercise matters - that’s the message we’re trying to tell people.

“Most don’t realise the benefit of regular exercise until it’s too late, but it’s never too late to start exercising.

“It can help ward off so many health problems later in life and it’s the best way to tackle obesity. This is a fun and free way to do that.”

The challenge follows a survey which shows 11 per cent of Barnet residents do no form of exercise at all.

Just under 49 per cent admitted they do not do the recommended levels of 150 minutes per week, by 71 per cent said they would like to do more.

It also showed people are more likely to participate in activities that are outdoor rather than indoor, and are not organised classes or activities.

Under the project, marked and measured walking routes of 1km, 2.5km or 5km have ben pre-plotted in parks across Barnet - including Edgwarebury Park.

Edgware councillor Helena Hart said: “People are put off by the process of going to the gym, but the outdoor equipment gives them a chance to experience the great outdoors.

“It will give people the freedom and opportunity to exercise in whatever fashion suits them so it’s a very exciting project. I’d like to see everyone taking up at least one new sport this year.”