RESIDENTS are being urged to get fitter and healthier to help them avoid serious illness if they catch coronavirus.

The Better Health Greater Essex campaign has launched this week amid concerns of a second wave of the virus.

The scheme offers residents throughout the county tips on how to lose weight and improve their fitness.

Around 63 per cent of residents in Essex are said to be overweight - one per cent higher than the national average.

Scientists believe those who are inactive or overweight are more susceptible to Covid-19 and could become critically ill if they catch it.

Braintree Council has got behind the county-wide campaign to get fit and is calling on residents to get involved.

Health boss Peter Tattersley said: "The current situation has made us all review our health and the amount of activity we do.

"It can be easy to forget to exercise as much as we should.

"This campaign shows just how easy it can be to make small changes to our lifestyle to improve our physical health."

Essex County Council has organised the fitness initiative with the help of Active Essex.

County Hall's health and adult social care boss John Spence added: "With coronavirus cases on the rise and winter on its way it is now more important than ever that we all stay as healthy as we can.

"The campaign will help Essex residents understand the opportunities to get moving and ways to eat healthier.

"Small lifestyle changes, such as watching what you eat and moving more can make a big difference."

The Better Health Greater Essex scheme gives suggestions on simple activities to do outside and more than 200 gentle workout videos.