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A prescription for exercise leaves Killamarsh dad fighting fit

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2 February 2012

Derbyshire dad sheds 15 per cent of body weight thanks to his GP’s prescription to swim.

Dad-of-two Mark Ward has shed over two stones – and found a new lease of life – thanks to a scheme which helps people tackle health problems through exercise.

The 40-year-old from Killamarsh has lost over 15 per cent of his body weight in just over three months after signing up to the Health Referral Programme because of a long-term back problem.

Mark says he is also now more mobile, suffers much less pain and has hugely improved his sleeping patterns following the 12-week tailor-made exercise programme at Eckington Swimming Pool.

And now Mark – who also took swimming lessons at the pool as he couldn’t swim – has now set his sights even higher by signing up to do the five mile Great North Swim in Lake Windermere in 2012!

Mark, who works as an Environmental Services Officer at Sheffield City Council, said: “I’ve struggled with ongoing back problems since I worked in a foundry when I was younger.  I’ve always been on painkillers, and struggled to be active – slowly putting on weight.

“Having never learnt to swim I decided to sign up for adult lessons at the centre, and I found that swimming actually really helped with the pain.

“My GP then referred me to this scheme to help me build up my exercise and fitness levels and provide me with the motivation and support I needed to become more active for the benefit of my health.”

The Health Referral Scheme is run by North East Derbyshire District Council, Derbyshire County NHS at Dronfield Sports Centre, Eckington Swimming Pool, Sharley Park Leisure Centre and Killamarsh Sports Centre.

The project aims to increase activity and exercise in everyday life for people, like Mark, who want to improve their health.

A personal exercise programme was drawn up for Mark – including regular sessions in the fitness suite to improve his strength and mobility.  Mark also followed the Swimfit programme which is a free online and poolside club that provides people with a gym style work-out programme for the pool.

Since following his new regime Mark has lost two stones and two pounds and says he feels like a new man.  He no longer relies on painkillers for his back and his blood pressure is also lower.

“The whole experience has been fantastic and it really has given me a new lease of life.  As well as helping me manage my back problems, I’m eating better, sleeping better and generally feel like a new man!” added Mark.

“Staff from the Health Referral Team have been a fantastic inspiration – I couldn’t have asked for more support and advice and I would certainly recommend this project.”

Project leaders are now urging others to take inspiration from Mark, and find out more about how the scheme could help them. People must be referred to the scheme by a health professional.

Cllr Graham Baxter MBE, Leader of North East Derbyshire District Council, said: “Many people living with a range of health problems could benefit greatly from this project, and we would urge people to get in touch with their GP who will assess if exercise could help them manage their condition.”

The project is open to people who:

  • Are living with health conditions which exercise would help – including weight loss, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, mobility problems (including joint and muscle pain) or mental health conditions
  • Take part in little or no exercise
  • Are willing and motivated to become more active to benefit their health in the long term

For more information about the Health Referral Programme click here or call (01246) 217208. For more information and to sign up to Swimfit click here.

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Go Swimming has everything you need to know about swimming. If you are a parent, a non swimmer or just want to improve your technique this is the section for you.

In British Swimming you will find information about the world of high performance sport, including the disciplines of Swimming, Diving, Synchronised Swimming, Water Polo and Para-Swimming.

The ASA is the governing body for the sport in England. In this section you will find all you need to know about joining a club or competing in England and becoming a swimming teacher or coach.

The IoS delivers the ASA’s courses and is a member organisation. Whether you are a teacher, coach, employer or club you will find everything you need to know about qualifications or educating your workforce.

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