Helping patients to get fighting fit at our pop-up gym sessions

It’s January and lots of us are thinking about healthy lifestyles and returning to the gym. Read our four inspirational stories about some of our patients who attend our regular pop-up gym sessions based at Caritas House

Jackie

Jackie has been going to the Caritas gym sessions, Get Active, since they started in March 2015 and quickly noticed a change – she could walk that little bit further and do that little bit more.

At the moment Jackie isn’t feeling well enough to take part in all the activities but she still does what she can to keep well including the warm-up and cool-down exercises as she finds it helps. While others are doing their exercises, Jackie’s there with her stopwatch supporting and encouraging people to keep going. Ron, one of the regular gym attendees said “She’s a hard taskmaster – there’s no slacking or cheating when Jackie’s around.”

Brian

Brian has been attending sessions for the last 15 weeks – he knows this by the number of columns ticked off on his personal exercise plan.

Everyone’s exercise plan is tailored to their own needs – whether that’s to help relieve aches and pains, build strength, increase confidence or improve flexibility, everyone works at their own speed focusing on whatever they need most. Brian says: “I find my exercise plan really helps relieve my aches and pains. When I first came along to Caritas House, it was a real eye-opener to see how much is on offer. I’m booked in for a back massage next which is great, though I do keep falling asleep.”

“My daughter took part in the Midnight Walk back in October. She only signed up for it about two weeks beforehand but still managed to raise £1,000 for St Christopher’s. She’s got metal pins in her leg from when she broke it so it did take her a couple of hours but it was all for a very good cause.”

David

David is very familiar with our work as his mum was cared for by St Christopher’s 20 years ago.

Having been in the army and worked in the building trade and as a greengrocer, David is used to hard physical work and has always kept himself fit. When he was referred to us six months ago, he was still doing 30 press ups a day. Most days he still walks a couple of miles and manages the odd game of nine-hole golf. This makes sure he gets plenty of fresh air but the cold weather does make it harder for him.

To help with this, David enjoys a foot massage whenever he can which helps with poor circulation and cold feet. Whether it’s a walk to Chislehurst, a game of golf, foot massage or joining in the gym and art therapy classes at Caritas House, David is determined to “grab everything I can”.

Sue

Sue has been coming along to the gym and art therapy classes since June 2015.

Happily her health has improved, but she keeps coming to classes as “exercise makes you feel better and coming to the class gives you the discipline to continue with the exercises.” Sue continues: “The physios here are fantastic and it’s a really nice little social group which is another reason for me to keep coming.”

Sue used to be a Clinical Nurse Specialist, based at St Christopher’s Caritas House. She says: “I always wondered what it was like to be on the receiving end of St Christopher’s care – now I know and it feels very comforting and familiar to me. It’s a lovely organisation and very uplifting.”

“The physios here are fantastic and it’s a really nice little social group”

Sue, pop-up gym user

The Get Active group is only possible because of the dedication and support of volunteers who help out every week – thank you to Barry, Lorraine and Isobel. Thanks also to Rank Foundation who donated £5,000 for gym equipment.