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Heart event turns member's life around

13 Aug 2014

Tina Ellery, a Hamilton mum in her 40s has turned her life around by trading-in cigarettes for sneakers after she received heart valve surgery and a new pacemaker in November last year.

Tina’s heart needed to cope with 10 laps around the hospital ward before she could be discharged.  Although it seemed an impossible task at the time, it took a whole two months of recovery in hospital before Tina was able to achieve this goal.

Once home, Tina knew she had to change her lifestyle drastically. Determined to live a longer and more fulfilling life after her health scare she quit smoking; joined the gym and began to incorporate healthier lifestyle habits into her daily life to improve her overall wellbeing.

By attending information sessions for heart rehab patients, Tina was made aware of how important day-to-day habits impacted heart health in the long term. Knowing she needed to continue to build her fitness level in a safe environment, Tina sought advice from staff at UniRec.

 “I had heard about LifeFit and the Healthy Heart Programme through the information sessions and I wanted to learn more about what they offered. If I was going to start exercising again with a pacemaker on board, I knew I was going to need professional guidance and support. The Healthy Heart Programme was perfect because it’s designed specifically for people like me who have experienced a heart event,” Tina says.

Along with the friendly staff at UniRec, the Healthy Heart Programme has helped Tina keep motivated and focused on her goal, she says “I’m inspired by the age, fitness and commitment of the other group members who attend the programme. The safe environment and the encouragement I receive from everyone make me feel more confident.”

In the six months that she’s been a member, Tina has already achieved huge personal gains. Previously she was only be able to walk on a treadmill for five minutes at the lowest speed, now she can walk with an incline at speed 4.0 for 20 minutes, as well as complete her other exercises.

“When I look back and see how far I’ve come in the past six months it stops me from feeling depressed, instead, I feel a sense of accomplishment and purpose. It’s been good for me both mentally and physically.

“I feel like a completely new person. I’ve gone from a smoker that did no exercise, to someone who works hard every day at maintaining a new lifestyle focused around being active and healthy. I even check labels on food and look for the heart tick when I’m at the supermarket!”

Tina recommends the LifeFit and Healthy Heart Programme to anyone who has a heart condition or to seniors who would like to be more active. The programmes offer enjoyable, social and achievable exercise sessions that focus upon resistance and cardiovascular training at a light and manageable pace.

If you have experienced a heart event and would like to know more about UniRec’s Healthy Heart and LifeFit programme, please call reception on 07 838 4177.

UniRec is proudly supported by the Heart Foundation.

Tina Ellery