Heart health challenge rolled out to public after successful trial

Alistair McKinlay-Brown, one of the participants in the pilot challenge, with Jenny Kenny from Wessex Heartbeat

A scheme designed to encourage participants to improve their cardiac health is to begin on Monday 8 April.

Wessex Heartbeat originally trialled its ’12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge’ last year, with around 40 people from the south’s business community taking part – with small, achievable steps each week to improve their health.

Collectively, the group lost more than 12 stone and average cholesterol dropped from 4.4 to 4.1. The group’s glucose readings also went down and almost everyone maintained or dropped points on the BMI (Body Mass Index) scale.

The scheme was deemed such a success – with results showing significant health benefits – that now people living across the region are being invited to sign up.

Wessex Heartbeat chief executive John Munro said:

‘Evidence from last year’s trial of the scheme shows promising evidence that making small and achievable steps can make a big difference to overall cardiac health.

‘As well as inviting local business representatives to take part in the ’12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge’ from 8 April, we’re rolling the scheme out to the wider community. It’s an incredibly worthwhile initiative, and we will be supporting participants throughout.’

The scheme begins with a health check from Wessex Heartbeat’s cardiac nurses, checking everything from participants’ weight and cholesterol to blood pressure and BMI.

They will then be set a new achievable challenge to complete each week – like drinking 2-3 litres of water a day or walking a certain number of steps.

‘The challenge is for everybody, at any and all levels of fitness,’ added John. ‘We want to help people improve their health at their own pace. And we have teamed up with Brightside PT, whose experts will be offering the very best nutrition and fitness advice.

‘At Wessex Heartbeat, we know the more we can educate people early on about living a healthy lifestyle, the more we can stop people contracting avoidable heart conditions. At the end of the 12 week challenge, not only will our participants’ heart health have improved, but they will have created the foundation to go on and live a better and healthier life.’