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Active Steps kept me motivated

Terrie joined the Active Steps programme in September 2019. She shares her journey with the programme and how it’s helped her live better with her COPD.

I’ve been living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) since 2013. I delayed getting a diagnosis as my family and I were going through a difficult time – my husband had spent time in intensive care, before eventually having a heart transplant in October 2013.

I’d known something was wrong for a while before I was diagnosed. I didn’t tell anyone I was struggling, and managed to hide my breathlessness. But after a severe chest infection, my husband told me I needed to see someone about my symptoms. That got the ball rolling for my diagnosis of COPD.

I knew I needed to do something, I just didn’t know what

It was in an email from the British Lung Foundation that I heard about the Active Steps programme. I signed up and spoke to Claire, part of the Active Steps team. She gave me an understanding about what I needed to do to improve my fitness. As I’d been caring for my husband, I hadn’t had much time to take care of myself. I did the things I had to do, but that’s about it.

With the programme’s support, I tried out new things to help improve my fitness. I even tried tai chi and joined a rock choir! At the beginning, I spoke with Claire once every 2 weeks. Nowadays we speak every month.

Going into lockdown meant looking for something new

My husband and I went into lockdown the week before everyone else because of our health conditions. I had to find a new way to keep active, that meant I didn’t have to leave the house. I found an online gym called AbFabFit. I was really hesitant to sign up – would I be able to manage it? Could I keep up? I can now say it was one of the best things I’ve ever done!

Taking these online exercise classes kept me focused and healthy and provided a great line of support. It was something I looked forward to - I never thought I’d say that about exercise! And it wasn’t just the online classes, I got help with eating healthily and there’s always someone there if you wanted a chat.

The classes adapted exercises for people with lung conditions, so if there was an exercise I couldn’t do I’d be given something else I could join in with. I haven’t had a single infection during lockdown and have felt an improvement in my breathing, so I know I must have been doing something right!

A few weeks ago I injured my back so I haven’t been able to do any exercise. But during lockdown I did the classes 3 or 4 times a week. 

It’s good to have someone there

I’m not particularly motivated to do things on my own, I need the push. My conversations with the Active Steps programme have spurred me on to keep going. I know that if I don’t stay active my condition will progress quicker – I’ve got 4 grandchildren to run around after!

I’ve got my last call with the programme coming up and I know I’m going to miss them. It’s good to have someone to talk to about how I’m doing, it’s almost like counselling. 

Active Steps has been amazing support. It’s been great having someone there who understands and doesn’t judge you. The Active Steps programme has helped me realise it doesn’t matter what other people think!

“I’m so glad our support has motivated Terrie to keep active in a way that suits her. I feel so proud of all our participants, especially during these last 6 months. They’ve all found opportunities to keep active despite all the difficulties and changes that the COVID situation has presented to them.” Claire, Active Steps team

The Active Steps programme has now come to end, but support is still there to help you become more active in your everyday life. Take a look at our online exercise videos and download our free exercise handbook for activities you can do at home. Plus, you can read more about keeping active with a lung condition and download a 12 week activity diary to keep you motivated.

The We Are Undefeatable Five in Five tool is designed to help get you moving in a way that works for you. Get started by picking 5 activities and complete each one for 1 minute for an easy 5-minute workout. Find out more about Five in Five, as well as other digital tools that will help you get active, on the We Are Undefeatable website.

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13 October 2020