Retired maths teacher Brian Povey has always had a passion for numbers, but one particular figure now means more to him than most.
Just eight years on from a heart attack, the 70-year-old is celebrating his 1,000th session at his local gym – Life Leisure Romiley.
In 2009, Disley resident Brian suffered a heart attack that put his life on hold.
Finding a passion for physical exercise was not an outcome Brian had expected. Yet the retiree is now a familiar face at Life Leisure Romiley, where he can be found working out at least three times a week.
Brian said: “Following my heart attack I started attending regular cardiac rehab sessions at Stepping Hill Hospital.
“That was a very important step for me. For eight weeks the team there encouraged me to use gym equipment and walk a little more every day.
“It built up my strength and my confidence. So when they suggested I take part in the Physical Activity Referral Scheme in Stockport (PARiS) I took up the challenge.”
The PARiS scheme, a partnership between Life Leisure and Public Health in Stockport, provides specialist advice, activity sessions and support for people who have a medical condition and who need to be more physically active to better manage their health.
Brian added: “I remember sitting down with my instructor, Michelle Childs, and we worked out my regime which looked at cardiovascular exercises, stretching and weight work initially.
“Just a little of each to start with. I had a grid to keep track of everything I was doing, and also wore a heart rate monitor so that I could keep an eye on my exercise level.
“My wife Elizabeth was incredibly supportive and came to some sessions with me – although I think partly to check her husband wasn’t getting too carried away.”
Brian took to his PARiS sessions so well that he decided to carry on his gym activity and join as a member.
Regularly checking in with one of his other instructors, PARiS officer Dave McGlinchey, Brian now does three, 90-minute sessions every week, consisting of time on the treadmill, bikes and rowers, as well as leg extensions, bicep curls, shoulder presses and wall push-ups, still wearing his heart rate monitor and with continuing support from his wife.
Even when not at the gym, Brian makes sure he gets out and about on walks, and can often be found taking in the sights at Lyme Park to help keep up his impressive activity levels.
“Since the very first day I started, I’ve kept a detailed exercise diary,” added Brian. “As well as being useful for showing my GP and cardiologist what I’ve been up to, it is a really good motivator as I can chart the progress I’ve made.
“When you have a significant health scare, it does make you look at things differently.”