A MAJOR campaign to persuade Southampton residents to improve their health with a more active lifestyle was due to be launched today.

Key players in sport, health and fitness want to show all residents - whatever their age, ability or experience - that being active doesn't need to be hard work.

The Active Southampton campaign, backed by round-the-world sailor Dee Caffari, Olympic diver Peter Waterfield, and BBC sports reporter Roger Johnson, aims to increase activity among city residents.

Experts say just 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, such as a brisk walk, can reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease and mental illness.

As part of Active Southampton city leisure venues will be offering discounted activities while unusual pursuits, like new aged kurling and fit n funky' dance exercise classes are being introduced to tempt people out of their armchairs.

Active Southampton - a partnership between Southampton City Council, Southampton City Primary Care Trust, the universities, Southampton Football Club, Solent Youth Action, Southampton Voluntary Services, Hants & IOW Youth Options and colleges - is being launched at St Mary's Stadium.