03 October 2017

I am 55 years of age and in October 2016 I was late rushing to see the Burnley v Everton match at Turf Moor when I had to stop on the way, my arms felt heavy and I experienced chest pains, too.  I was sure I was alright but decided to go for an ECG the following Monday, and was asked to contact my GP if I experienced any further chest pains.  I had a stent fitted in January to widen a blocked artery.

After the operation I felt better than I had for years and after speaking to a Cardiac Sister at Burnley General Hospital, decided to contact the NHS Quit Squad to help me give up smoking.  For the next few months I tried exercising on my own but found it difficult. 

The pains in my chest had returned and in April I attended a pre-op assessment and was upset to learn that I weighed 84kgs.  I had been substituting food for nicotine and hadn’t realised I had such an unhealthy lifestyle, so decided to set a goal of losing weight too.  I was readmitted to Burnley General for 3 more stents fitting and was left feeling very tired and drained.  However, within a couple of weeks my energy levels had returned and I contacted the Sister who put me in touch with the Up and Active team.

I attended a 12 week Cardiac Rehabilitation programme twice a week, which included a gym and circuit based class - I felt I needed to increase my level of fitness and lose weight. Since starting these classes I have also been walking every day, increasing the distance each week and trying to increase the pace of my walk. l began to feel fitter and happier. At this point I stopped smoking and have not had a cigarette since January. Despite only making small changes to my diet I’m pleased to have lost  4kg in weight.  I now cycle to and from work after taking advantage of the Buy A Bike Scheme through work.

For anyone who is in my situation I would highly recommend the Up and Active Cardiac rehabilitation programme at St Peters Centre as it has made me realise how much exercise I can do without being scared.  I’ve enjoyed exercising more and more each week, in fact, if for any reason I cannot exercise I feel disappointed. I have now moved onto the mainstream Up and Active programme for a further 12 weeks to continue my exercise regime and am thoroughly enjoying it.