July 23, 2008

Exercise That Helps the Heart

T he Cardiac Club is all about good health, good friends and a good atmosphere.

Run by CLM Health and Fitness, the club is for people who have a heart condition or diabetes, or who have had heart surgery, and provides an opportunity to exercise in a warm and monitored environment.

The club was launched on May 18 with the backing of the Heart Foundation.

On average, 15 to 20 people turn up every Thursday to take part in either aqua aerobics, gym work or a walk in the park.

Co-ordinator Linda Ann Eastwood says that, with heart disease the leading killer in New Zealand, CLM felt there was a need for a club that would provide a choice of activities.

"We have the ability to help someone, and hopefully change their lives. Some of these people have been through trauma," Linda says.

New members fill in a form stating their health condition, what medication they are on, and what they think they can do in terms of exercise.

As most of the participants are older people, and many have undergone surgery, they find that aqua aerobics is a gentle form of exercise that is easier on the body, particularly the joints.

Gym work consists of gentle treadmill exercise or time on an exercycle. There is also the option of a light workout with weights.

After 30 to 40 minutes of exercise, club members gather in the Lido cafe for a healthy snack, a drink and a chat.

Linda says this is an opportunity to discuss any problems they have. It's also a chance for members to support and encourage each other.

"For many, it was their first time in a gym, and they were really nervous. But now they enjoy it so much, we can't get them out," she says.

"You can see that each week they get a little bit stronger."

Joan Dewar has been a member since the beginning. She had a triple bypass operation in March, and says she is making a good recovery.

"It's great being able to come here in winter, where it is warm and we are monitored.

"I had never been to a gym in my life. But they promised they wouldn't make me look like Dolly Parton."

Joan says she has benefited greatly from the exercise sessions.

"We know we are closely monitored, and the staff are so friendly and caring here."

(c) 2008 Evening Standard; Palmerston North, New Zealand. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.