Chair athletes keep fit in their seats

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A local GP surgery has been praised for the success of its in-house fitness class.

Leigh View Medical Practice in Tingley set up the chair-based aerobic sessions to help people with long-term health problems to stay active.

The group recently marked its first anniversary and now has over 40 members, with an average weekly attendance of 26. Leigh View is part of Leeds West Clinical Commissioning Group, which is backing the benefits of physical activity in reducing heart disease for National Heart Month.

“I had a heart attack a few months ago and my coronary nurse advised me to do some exercises. With my bad back I didn’t want to join the gym but when I heard about the chair aerobics group I knew this would be ideal for me. The classes make me feel better and everybody is so friendly,” said one patient.

The classes are led by instructor Doreen Youngman, a member of the Keep Fit Association, and also aim to reduce social isolation.

“The group is open to anyone at the practice but it is predominantly people who are retired. The classes help them with their confidence and fight loneliness. When they’re at home some people can feel isolated but by coming along they get a chance to interact and make new friends.”

The sessions, which run on Tuesdays from 10.30am-11.30am, have proved so popular that the surgery is hoping to introduce more classes.

“There’s so much enthusiasm in the classes that they now want to set up other activity groups,” added Doreen.