After three heart attacks, Andrew Brierley faced a choice: “I had to get better and improve my health or pop my clogs.”
Once struggling to even get up the stairs, he is getting his life back on track thanks to a Sheffield scheme that sees GPs and other specialists referring heart patients for a controlled regime of exercise.
Andrew, aged 55, of Ecclesall, followed a tailor-made 12 week programme to work and strengthen his heart, attending group sessions two to three times a week.
“I didn’t know what to expect from the exercise scheme, but knew I had to go into it with an open mind,” he said. “I thought it would be yoga or tai-chi.
“I was really surprised when the exercise was physical, but the instructor worked closely with me and understood my limits and made sure I never did more than I should.
“I was astonished when I started to notice the difference the exercise was making to how I was feeling, I had more energy and I soon could make it to the top of the stairs unaided.”
Andrew was referred to Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre.
Cardiac rehabilitation instructor Jo Strong said: “It has been amazing to see his health improve over the weeks and see the difference it makes to him physically and mentally.”
Consultant cardiologist Dr Timothy Chico, who treated Andrew in 2011 after his third heart attack, said rehabilitation programmes helped most heart attack patients go back to at least the same level of activity.