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Posted on May 16 2024 by Bobbie Kelly

Prichard patient marvels at how being active has overhauled his wellbeing

A patient who has been at St Andrew’s Healthcare for a year is “proud” at how far he has come since he started exercising.  

The man – who is currently receiving treatment on Prichard ward – has overhauled his lifestyle and still cannot believe how positive he has started to feel.

Speaking during Mental Health Week which started on Monday, May 13, the 35-year-old, who used to be a sports coach, is promoting this year’s theme which is ‘movement’. 

The patient’s declining health has meant he has been in services for nine years where much of the time he has not been encouraged to exercise, but that has recently changed.

Shortly before the person within our care moved to Prichard, Dr Alikhan changed his medication which helped and contributed to seeing a change in his wellbeing. Once he had settled onto his new ward, the patient was offered more activities and sports, which led to a huge improvement in how he felt.

He said: “I’m very proud at how far I’ve come and I’ve even lost a bit of weight. I’ve done it by eating less chocolate and exercising.”

However, at first he was a bit reluctant to make a start in getting active.

He added: “When I found out St Andrew’s had a swimming pool, I was tempted, but I didn’t want to get into the pool alone. So Tom – the swimming coach – asked me what it would take to get me in the pool. I said I wanted my dad join me. So, now we swim together once a week and also play water polo – This kick started my new journey”

In addition to his poolside activities, the patient also plays badminton, basketball once a week, walks a Pets as Therapy dog, plays table tennis on the ward and volunteers in our Townsend cafe once a week.

He said: “I really do feel better now. Since I started exercising, I really feel so much better mentally and physically. I plan to keep it up.”

Tom Bodkin, who was the member of staff who encouraged the patient to start swimming, said: “He should be so proud of how far he’s come. At first he was a bit unsure of the water, but with his dad and staff support we got him in and now there’s no stopping him. He’s a real inspiration and the weight loss is just a bonus. We all know how impactful regular exercise can be on our mind and our wellbeing, but this story is the actual proof as to how powerful being active really can be.”

The patient’s exercise routine has also had a positive improvement on his type 2 diabetes.

Chris Mahoney, Advanced Clinical Practitioner, said: “Earlier this year this was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His HBA1c – which is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months – was very high. This usually indicates a person has a poor diet and is sedentary. But, since his diagnosis he has engaged well with his management plan, making better food choices and the exercising is paying off.

“Now his HBA1c levels are much lower, which suggests he’s controlling his blood sugars so much better. It’s so important with type 2 diabetes that people take good care of their diet and exercise regularly. It is even possible to reverse the condition.” 

The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 is Movement. To find out more about how being active can help your wellbeing, click here.