These were the words uttered by the Healthy Hearts participants, their family/whanau and CM Health staff as they crossed the 2014 Round the Bays finish line! Completing the 8.4km walk represented a significant achievement for everyone who took part – many of whom had never entered Round the Bays before.
Seven ‘Healthy Hearts’ men and women took up the challenge, having completed and graduated from the 8 week, bi-weekly Healthy Hearts ‘Fit to Exercise’ programme for people with heart failure. This is a pilot programme sponsored by the Beyond 20,000 Days Campaign and Department of Cardiology. The programme aims to assess people with heart failure and improve their fitness by providing specialist advice and support and opportunities such as home/walk/community programmes or CM Health supervised exercise classes. ‘Walkers’ were recruited from exercise classes, held at AUT University South Campus and Fitness Plus gym.
Participants were joined by family members, one of whom flew in especially from Dunedin to walk the Bays with her relative. The Healthy Hearts team/CM Health staff acted as a ‘buddies’ to provide support as people walked towards achieving this amazing goal. Everyone wore Counties Manukau Health t-shirts, which were printed with the newly designed Healthy Hearts logo. This logo was co-designed by the team and participants to represent the aim of the programme and the goals of individuals. The CM Health and Healthy Hearts logos were symbolic of the journey for many of the people taking part as well as a souvenir of the day.
For all of the Healthy Hearts participants, joining the CM Health staff supervised gym programme heralded an opportunity to get fit and become more confident in exercise. Prior to joining the ‘Fit to Exercise’ programme, many participants had never attended a gym and had been unwell, with one person spending time in intensive care. Concerns about lack o f fitness fear /anxiety about exercise, and not knowing were to start, were common reasons to enter the programme. Individualised goals such as ‘being able to walk my grandchildren to school’, ‘losing weight’, ‘wanting to feel lighter and be able to do more’ were all achieved on re-assessment, immediately after the programme. Round the Bays was set as a challenge to sustain the gains achieved at the programme, and focus continued on training on a goal.
For the Healthy Hearts team, there was an amazing sense of pride in the participants and in the programme, which has made a real difference to the lives of individuals and their family/whanau. It was a great day and yes, ‘we did it’ but we did it together.
Many thanks to Christine Lockhart for organising the CM Health team, after race refreshments and t-shirts. Mike from Tru-colorz for doing a great job with printing the logo, and special thanks to the Healthy Hearts team/CM Health staff for going the ‘extra mile’…. on a Sunday morning!
Physiotherapy Advanced Clinician (cardio-respiratory)
Clinical Lead Healthy Hearts