ANGUS Cardiac Group received a ‘highly commended’ certificate for their innovative project, ‘Angus Activity Programme for People with a Long Term Condition’ at the recent NHS Tayside Quality Awards.
The project is a collaborative venture involving Angus Cardiac Group, Angus Community Health Partnership, Angus Council Leisure Services and the Angus COPD Group, and has the ultimate aim of providing exercise opportunities for every person in Angus with a long term health condition, as well as their partners and carers.
The main funder for the project is the Long Term Conditions Alliance Scotland and, since the project started 18 months ago, 20 seated (chair-based) exercise classes have been established in various locations in Angus.
These classes are held in leisure centres, hospitals, sheltered housing and care homes. Also available are 10 circuit classes and two gym-based classes. Trials are proceeding for one-to-one sessions for the housebound and organisers are also piloting the use of the Wii.
Gordon Sneddon, chairman of Angus Cardiac Group, said: “The importance of exercise for people with a long term condition cannot be understated. Some 40 per cent of the population of Scotland lives with at least one long term condition and the benefits of exercise, both physical and mental, are well known.
“The percentage will rise due to the older population living longer and the younger population leading unhealthy lifestyles. Of those people living with long term conditions, 55 per cent suffer from depression and this will affect not only their quality of life but also their lifespan.
“Those people with a long term condition who exercise regularly will, on average, live for five years longer than those who don’t exercise. This project is not just helpful but is essential for a happy and healthy life and it will help participants to better self manage their condition.
“We have recruited 17 volunteers from local self-help groups and, after training, they have played an invaluable part in various roles, particularly in assisting with and leading exercise sessions.”
One participant said: “It is about the only form of exercise class for elderly with disabilities. It is challenging and helps me try that little bit further. Group exercise is much better than alone. The instructor is excellent, helpful and caring.”
And a volunteer said: “Somewhere, sometime my helping may help someone to help someone else.”
Anyone in Angus who has a long-term health condition and wants to manage their condition as effectively as possible is advised to join one of the many exercise classes available in the county.
To find out about these classes contact your local leisure centre, speak to a health professional or look at the Angus Cardiac Group website at www.anguscardiacgroup.co.uk