Cardiac scheme to widen after successful pilot

Wessex Heartbeat 12 week challenge

A pilot scheme aimed at improving cardiac health is set to be rolled out to people in the south after trials proved successful this summer.

Earlier this year Wessex Heartbeat trialled a new ’12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge’, which saw participants take small, achievable steps to improve their health each week. Around 40 people from the South’s business community took part in the pilot scheme and, with the results now collected, it’s been revealed that they have achieved significant health benefits.

Collectively, the group lost more than 12 stone and average cholesterol dropped from 4.4 to 4.1. The group’s glucose readings also went down and almost everyone maintained or dropped points on the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale.

Wessex Heartbeat says it’s promising evidence that making small, achievable lifestyle changes can made a big difference to overall cardiac health.

Chief executive John Munro said: “All of the tests we measured against are a real indicator of cardiac health so we’re thrilled to see such successes among the group. As a charity we’re working hard to do more at the ‘coalface’ of cardiac health. The more we can educate people early on about living a healthy lifestyle, the more we can stop people contracting avoidable heart conditions.”

The trial of the Wessex Heartbeat ’12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge’ kicked off with a health check from Wessex Heartbeat’s cardiac nurses, checking everything from participants’ weight and cholesterol to blood pressure and BMI.

They were then sent a new achievable challenge to complete each week, such as drinking 2-3 litres of water a day or walking a certain number of steps. A special Facebook group gave workout videos in association with Brightside Personal Training and a sounding board for participants to share tips and encouragement. At the end of the programme, participants went through the same health check and were able to see their results.

Two winners were chosen by the charity as having made exceptional progress and were rewarded with 12 weeks of personal training with Brightside Personal Training, along with 12 cases of Hildon water to keep them hydrated.

Lee Peck, chairman of Lee Peck Media, scooped the title of men’s winner. He said: “The power of the challenge was that it made you accountable. Having your vital statistics taken was not only a revelation – I was shocked by my BMI – but means that in three months’ time you can see how well or badly you have fared. The weekly tips have very much become part of my routine now and I’ve made some very positive changes for the better.”

Women’s winner, Lisa Badger from Eric Robinson Solicitors, added: “I was very pleased with my results at the end of the challenge. I’m hoping that once I take up the personal training sessions, I will ‘get hooked’ on exercise – something that’s been lacking in my life for some time – and reap even more benefits.”

A public version of the 12 Week Challenge is set to take place later this year. To register interest in taking part email ken@heartbeat.org.uk or call 023 8070 6095.