Healthy Hearts is helping Hartlepool people live longer

Having a ball at the  Healthy Hearts class.
Having a ball at the Healthy Hearts class.
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A vital health scheme is helping to extend the lives of people in Hartlepool.

Fifteen people at a time - including some who have had heart attacks or a stroke - are feeling the benefit of the weekly Healthy Hearts exercise classes at 1pm each Wednesday at the Owton Manor Community Centre in Wynyard Road.

They have to come through the GP or practice nurse and it allows them to extend their lives through physical activity

Lorraine Harrison, health and fitness scheme co-ordinator

Health and fitness scheme co-ordinator Lorraine Harrison, from Hartlepool Council which runs the project, said: “They have to come through the GP or practice nurse and it allows them to extend their lives through physical activity, and improve their long-term health.

“We get 15 people a session and sometimes more. We don’t hammer on their doors. It is for people to get to the sessions when they are motivated to attend.

“We try to encourage the fact that this activity is helping with mobility, strength and cardiovascular fitness. It is about maintaining independence.”

An important factor in getting people along to the referral-only sessions is making it relevant to the participant, said Lorraine.

“They can associate the idea that attending the session is important to them. If you ask some people if they want to exercise, they are not interested.

“But if you ask them what they want to be able to do, that motivates them.”

People who attend can be living with problems such as stroke, heart attacks and arthritis. Participants are assessed for their suitability to join which is why people must first be referred by a GP or practice nurse.

But once they have joined up, people take part in sessions which start with a ten-week introductory course where they can decide if the course is right for them and what they want to achieve in the long-term.

Healthy Hearts is a part of the Hartlepool Exercise for Life scheme.

Another project within the scheme is a weekly session for people with Type 2 Diabetes - or at risk of developing it.

It runs on Mondays from 1.30pm to 2.30pm at the Mill House Leisure Centre.

To book a place, contact Lorraine on (01429) 284363.

For more information email lorraine.harrison@hartlepool.gov.uk