Active Northumberland is running a highly successful exercise programme which has helped dozens of local residents to improve their heart health.
The supervised and structured exercise program is designed to help improve general as well as cardiovascular health, gradually restoring physical fitness and reducing the risk of future health problems.
It is used by people who have experienced a heart attack, heart event or heart surgery and who have completed their NHS cardiac rehabilitation care.
And one north Northumberland man, who can testify to its benefits is Peter Hall, 70, from West Thirston. Peter experienced three heart attacks over a three month period in 2017 and was referred to the GP Exercise on Referral programme at Willowburn via the NHS Nurse Led Cardiac Rehabilitation Service.
“ Since I started the programme at Willowburn Sports Centre my heart condition has been monitored medically and has improved dramatically. At its lowest point, my diagnosis was a ‘moderately impaired’ heart function. Later, it was revised to ‘mildly impaired’. Recently, to my delight an MRI scan measured my heart function at 56%, which is above normal. I have now been signed off by the cardiac team which is an absolutely incredible achievement.”
“I feel so grateful to all the staff at Willowburn for the warmth, encouragement and interest that made this very personal journey so satisfying for me.”
When Peter started the NHS programme in October 2017 he, like many others with a similar condition was apprehensive.
“ At the start, the sessions were the only means I had of exercising in a controlled and safe environment. With a combination of encouragement, careful monitoring and good humour in a friendly and supportive atmosphere my confidence and self-esteem steadily grew and I left each session feeling uplifted and refreshed.”
It is now 9 months since Peter’s last heart attack and he has made such good progress that he has been signed off the NHS Cardiac Rehabilitation programme. Peter has now joined the Willowburn gym which he attends three times each week. “ I’ve been given a great personal fitness programme which has improved my fitness and strength and I continue to receive regular input, advice and genuine friendly interest from the team at Alnwick.” he added.
Northumberland County Councillor, Cath Homer, cabinet member for leisure services said said:
“ At Active Northumberland we have a team of highly knowledgeable, experienced and supportive fitness instructors who work in partnership with the NHS to provide life changing care, within a safe environment, helping to get patients well on the road to recovery.”
The Cardiac Rehabilitation programme forms part of the close working relationship between the Northumbria HealthCare Trust NHS and Active Northumberland. Patients who have experienced cardiac events once they have completed the NHS programme are encouraged to continue supported physical activity through the GP Exercise on Referral Scheme.
Through the initiative, GPs and other health professionals can refer individuals, who they feel would benefit from physical activity to help them improve their medical conditions, to their local leisure centre.
The scheme has both mental and physical benefits. As well as improving cardiovascular and muscular strength, weight loss and lowering blood pressure - physical activity can also help
promote confidence and well being.
If you are interested in finding out more about the scheme contact your GP or practice nurse to see if you are eligible. Alternatively contact Active Northumberland on Tel: 01670 620200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org