New lease of life for Carrington Resident
Carrington resident, Bernadette Baker, has completely turned her life around since joining Urmston Leisure Centre’s exercise referral programmeback in November last year.
Bernadette suffers from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), a progressive lung disease that causes shortness of breath, for her, everyday activities such as walking up stairs is difficult and because of this Bernadette dropped into deep depression. She was referred to Urmston Leisure Centre by the hospital, they suggested exercise would help her feel less down and assist in her losing weight.
“I’ve been active all my life,” says Bernadette, but once diagnosed with COPD I was scared of getting breathless. I used to have quite a stressful job, but anxiety brings on the attacks so I had to give that up and just sat at home eating and drinking. My mental health plummeted. I knew I needed to find something so I was happy to give it a go and I haven’t looked back.”
At just 58, Bernadette’s doctor warned her she would be a lot younger than the other participants at the pulmonary rehabilitation classes, but that didn’t stop her making friends for life and laughing her way through the sessions.
“When I saw the age of the other people I automatically thought ‘it’s not for me’, but they are the funniest group of people I’ve ever met and I really looked forward to going,” she says. “Everyone had a similar condition to me and it was a controlled environment with pulmonary specialists, so my fears of exercising were taken away. The instructor used a pulse oximeter to measure my heart rate and the oxygen in my blood in-between each set of exercises, so they could tell how hard I was working.
“Now I automatically know what level of exertion my body can cope with,” continues Bernadette, who has progressed from pulmonary rehabilitation classes to Simple Circuits and sessions in the gym. “They teach you it all and that’s the beauty of it.”
Bernadette has now lost a stone and a half in weight, which also gave her confidence to go to the leisure centre’s gym. She’s achieved her bronze and silver Body Magic awards for exercise at Slimming World and is now working towards her platinum.