Life Leisure steps up to help long-COVID sufferers
A fit and healthy mum who went from going to the gym three times a week to struggling to walk up the stairs has hailed the Long-Covid recovery programme at Life Leisure.
Sam Babcock, 53, caught COVID more than a year ago while she was working as a learning support assistant in a primary school.
She said Life Leisure’s specialised exercise classes for residents suffering from Long-Covid have worked wonders on her fitness and self-esteem.
Mum-of-three Sam, from Romiley, said: “Long-Covid left me feeling extremely isolated – no one knew or understood how I was feeling. I had gone from going to the gym three times a week to hardly being able to manage a short walk. I also had a problem with severe fatigue and brain fog.
“When the long-Covid clinic suggested I enrol on Life Leisure’s scheme I was worried. My anxiety which had been heightened since COVID and my confidence was extremely low.
“But I was so glad I did! From the initial consultation on the phone Dave made me feel at ease.
“I was able to exercise at a level and pace to suit me with no pressure, as well as speak to others who are going through the same thing. We can chat and share experiences, help each other along and share our journey to recovery.”
She added: “Not only have I made friends but my confidence is growing, I feel better about myself and my recovery is progressing. These sessions are an hour where I feel like ‘me’ again. I can’t thank Dave and the team enough for their patience, help and support.”
Life Leisure, which runs 11 centres across Stockport, has supported hundreds of COVID patients across the town during the pandemic, running online exercise sessions and providing activity packs to help keep active.
Now gyms are back in action, the leisure provider is running free fitness classes in partnership with SMBC and Stockport CCG to help patients suffering from Long-COVID build up their strength.
Dave McGlinchy, physical activity coordiator at Life Leisure, said: “Our low intensity sessions – which last between 30 and 60 minutes – are designed to help patients build up their strength, energy and confidence through guided exercise, and hopefully have fun while doing it!”
He added: “All our sessions are carried out by qualified instructors and carefully designed so that individuals can dictate their own levels of movement on the day. If you are struggling with Long-COVID and would like to take part in our sessions you can self-refer, or speak to your GP who will carry out an initial assessment and refer you to the scheme.”
The classes take place at Houldsworth Village on Tuesdays at 11.15am, and Life Leisure Romiley on Thursdays at 1pm.
Anyone wishing to take part needs to be referred through the Physical Activity Referral in Stockport (PARiS) system, a partnership between Life Leisure and Stockport GPs.
Those who do not meet the requirements for referral through the PARiS scheme are encouraged to visit their local Life Leisure centre to discuss alternative options.