Jim Yates on how an Enfield exercise group is helping residents maintain good cardiac health
Some say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” but we always say that “exercise makes the heart grow stronger”.
Those of you who have experienced heart-related issues will know only too well the importance of staying fit and minimising the risk of further heart problems. That is exactly how Heart Throbs, our cardiac exercise and support group, was formed.
We are a local, non-profit organisation, affiliated to British Heart Foundation and with community amateur sports club (CASC) status. Heart Throbs was founded in 1990, with connections to Chase Farm, Barnet and North Middlesex Hospitals. We have more than 100 members, with most engaging in regular exercise and support classes. There is no contract or signing-on fee to join our group and our monthly fees are between £20 and £35, depending on how many classes you wish to attend.
Heart problems can strike at any age and affect people from all walks of life. Amazingly, around 1.4 million people alive in the UK today have survived a heart attack. As a result, many of our members can share stories of similar medical experiences, for example medications, stents, by-pass operations, emergency open heart surgery and replacement heart valves.
The impact of the pandemic in the last few years has taken a toll on the lifestyles of many in our community. Some have been unable to go outside, or even go walking, and so we innovated to
overcome the fact that we couldn’t congregate to exercise. We started at-home classes via Zoom, with members having a chat before the sessions started, seeing one another on screen and then following up on our own WhatsApp group. Suddenly, members were not so isolated, as jokes, quips and cartoons livened up some dull days. Not bad for a bunch of ‘oldies’!
Now back to meeting in person, Heart Throbs offers seven exercise classes run either at Holtwhites Sports and Social Club or St Stephen’s Church Hall, in addition to two Zoom classes we continue to run for those who prefer them. All classes are safely supervised by qualified instructors, who encourage our diverse group of members to have a more active and happier lifestyle.
While we are primarily a support group for people with heart problems, we are very welcoming to
partners, family members, carers and friends who may be interested. Prevention is better than cure!