Sheffield health patients who have turned their lives around have been celebrated

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A group of Sheffield patients who have turned their lives around through exercise have been celebrated at a special event.

The 14 Exercise Referral patients who use Concord Sports Centre’s fitness facilities to improve their health were invited for a VIP tour of the venue’s new National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM).

Their photos and inspirational stories appear throughout the UK-first NCSEM, which opened at Concord in September.

It has been designed to bring together clinical services, sport and exercise specialists and health professionals to make it easier for physical activity to become part of the treatment for a range of chronic health conditions.

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The NCSEM at Concord has seven clinical consulting rooms, education and training facilities, and a connection to the venue’s Fitness Unlimited gym to link health with physical activity.

After having a heart attack at the age of 52, Tony Marsh, from Wincobank never thought he would see the birth of his grandchildren. But after joining the Exercise Referral scheme at Concord, Tony is fighting fit.

He said: “I never thought I’d live to see my grandchildren but physical activity has given me a new lease of life.

“Following a tailor made exercise programme at Concord resulted in huge changes in my fitness and wellbeing. The difference it has made to my life is incredible.

“It was great to have the chance to tour the new facility and see our photos on display. I hope my story can inspire other patients at the NCSEM that physical activity can be effective treatment for a range of health conditions.”

Concord is run by SIV, which is part of the Sheffield City Trust (SCT) Group whose primary charitable objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people by providing facilities for sport and leisure activities.

Its award-winning Exercise Referral scheme uses physical activity to help people manage conditions including coronary heart disease, muscular skeletal diseases and respiratory illnesses.

The scheme was launched by the trust at Concord Sports Centre in 2005 and over the last decade has expanded across five SIV venues in Sheffield and now operates in two city GP surgeries.

Rob Womack, Healthy Partnerships Manager at SIV, said: “It was great to have the chance to celebrate the achievements of our inspirational patients at the new NCSEM, which, together with the Exercise referral Scheme, is creating a culture of physical activity in Sheffield.

“Having NHS clinics in successful community leisure venues like Concord reduces barriers to participation and makes it easier for patients to have access to high quality exercise facilities as part of the prescription process.”

Sheffield GP, Dr Ollie Hart said: “Unless we all learn to ‘move more’ the future NHS will buckle under the weight of a largely inactive and overweight population.

“Scheme’s like this exercise referral one are so important for helping people to understand how physical activity is so much more beneficial than any magic pill that the doctor can give you.

“It’s great that Tony and the other patients on the scheme have seen such a massive difference to their lives. I would encourage everyone in the city to follow their lead and move more.”

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