YMCA East Surrey

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Real Stories – John
Annual review photos for the YMCA

John knows that he owes a huge amount to the YMCA’s Exercise Referral programme.

“I have had two major operations in the past four years and suffer badly with COPD,” he says, “Without the support given to me through the Cardiac Rehab and Breathe Easy classes I would be in far worse shape than I am today.”

John’s health problems began with a heart attack in 2010, leading to a 4 month hospital stay and 3 bypass operations.

Once home, John, now 84, struggled with mobility through muscle weakness. Following a period of Cardiac Rehab offered through the NHS, he was referred to the YMCA.

“The gradual effect on my fitness was fantastic,” says John. “I came out of hospital walking with the use of a frame but, with steady support and advice from the Exercise Referral team, I built up my stamina until I could walk into my local village on my own. It felt like I was getting my life back together again.”
The Exercise Referral programme works in partnership with ESCCG (East Surrey Clinical Commissioning Group). This year, the YMCA have supported over 400 people with a chronic health condition or disability to regain their independence through safe and effective exercise and physical activities.

According to last year’s Joint Strategy Needs Assessment for Surrey & Sussex, the total primary & secondary care costs that are attributable to physical inactivity in Surrey is £17,959,001. 637 deaths could be prevented if 100% of the Surrey population were to become active.

“Coming to the YMCA benefits me physically and socially,” says John. “I really enjoy chatting with other class members and the Exercise Referral instructors are excellent.”

Unfortunately, another major operation was needed two years ago when it was found that John had a tumour in his bowel.

“I was lucky it was found early but I’m convince the Exercise Referral classes made a lot of difference to me prior to my second operation,” says John. “My levels of fitness were so much higher than before and my recovery afterwards seemed far easier.

Now I find that the more I do, the better I feel. I will definitely keep coming for as long as I can.”

Read more about Exercise Referral