A WOMAN diagnosed with incurable cancer has told how new online fitness classes are making her feel fit and happy.
Margaret McDermott, 67, from Paisley has metastatic breast cancer and signed up for Renfrewshire Leisure’s Vitality fitness programme for people with health issues.
She has been attending exercise classes at various sports and leisure centres and is now keeping up her fitness levels by following the work-out sessions that have now gone online during the coronavirus pandemic.
Along with the Vitality programme, Renfrewshire Leisure has also created online classes for people who normally attend the Live Active and Move More fitness sessions.
The Move More health and fitness initiative is run in association with the Macmillan Cancer Support charity and is for people affected by cancer.
A live video link between participants and a fitness instructor is set up several times a week and already almost 400 people have taken part in 20 virtual exercise classes since they started on Monday, April 6.
Margaret said: “I am so happy to be able to access the online classes.
“I’ve been diagnosed with an incurable cancer and have been very ill for a few years.
“However, I changed my diet a year ago and started to attend vitality and low impact keep-fit classes at several Renfrewshire Leisure facilities. I am feeling so much better, healthier and happy.
“Having online classes not only helps keep up my level of fitness, it also brings a structure to my day.
“I am very grateful to the staff for having the technical skills to put this in place and the wonderful ladies who present the classes.”
In a partnership between Renfrewshire Leisure and Macmillan Cancer Support, the Move More programme is for anyone affected by cancer, who would benefit by exercise to help them stay fit and healthy.
The Live Active and Vitality initiatives are for people whose health would benefit by better fitness and have been referred by their doctor.
The newly-launched online programme is a series of 12 classes with varying degrees of exercise intensity and there is even a class showing exercises that can be done while sitting in a chair.
Before anyone takes part in the video fitness class they are assessed to make sure they take part in the correct class for their level of fitness. And because video conferencing technology is being used, participants can speak to the instructor while the class is taking place.
For those who don’t have online access, a home pack that encourages walking is mailed to them. The pack includes a pedometer, physical activity DVD, a diary to record daily physical activity and links to online content and resources to support physical and mental wellbeing. Already 46 packs have been posted to local residents.
Professor Susan Moug, Consultant Colorectal Surgeon at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, in Paisley said:
“We believe that increasing activity levels is essential to improve pre-operative, post-operative and long term outcomes for patients. Physical activity as an essential part of the surgical pathway and this hasn’t changed in these unprecedented circumstances.
“Renfrewshire Leisure has allowed us to continue to do this and is empowering patients to guide their own care.
“Offering an online physical activity programme and home-based activity has allowed our patients to keep physically and mentally strong, with an added public health benefit.
“Well done Renfrewshire Leisure!”
Renfrewshire Leisure’s chairperson, Councillor Lisa-Marie Hughes said: “We have been running these three specialised fitness sessions in our sports centres and at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for some time and they have been very successful in helping people back to health.
“We felt it was important that even though we are in the grip of the current coronavirus pandemic, the folks who have benefited from the programmes shouldn’t miss out.
“Our Health Services team have done a great job in putting together this online programme so quickly and I hope everyone who would usually come along to a session will take part in their own homes.”
Anyone wishing to join these fitness programmes should email firstname.lastname@example.org .