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Thanks to Active Steps my quality of life improved immensely

Thanks to our Active Steps programme, Susan went from being unable to walk across a room without getting breathless to spending hours on her feet in a safari park. 

Susan, who is part of the Active Steps programme, and her son.

Living with bronchiectasis had already affected my breathing but I could usually do light housework and walk short distances. That all changed when I caught a chest infection, which rapidly became sepsis and left me very short of breath.

I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without stopping halfway up to rest. I could barely walk across a room without becoming breathless. Worst of all, I couldn't enjoy the company of my six-year-old grandson because I was so breathless and tired all the time.

This had a huge impact on my mental health too and I became very depressed. Although my breathing was gradually improving, I had lost all confidence in my ability to do anything. I was so scared that one day I would get so breathless that I would collapse. It meant that most days I just didn't do anything.

I didn’t feel like I was the same person I was before.

I found Active Steps

I logged on to the BLF website to see if there was anything I could do to help myself.  I saw the Active Steps programme and signed up.

Soon after, Abi from the Active Steps team called me. We talked at length about the programme and how it might help me. I thought to myself “what have I got to lose?” and signed up.

I received a welcome pack which had a DVD enclosed that showed me a gentle exercise programme which was aimed at various levels of ability. I started at the basic level and discovered that I could actually do gentle exercise without passing out!

It found it much easier to exercise because I was in the comfort of my own home. Over the next month, I gradually built up the number of times a week I was doing the exercises.

Setting my own goals

Soon after, I had a follow-up call with Abi to see how I was getting on. She was extremely encouraging and - bit by bit - my depression was diminishing as my level of activity was increasing.

The calls were really useful and, together, we set goals for what I should be able to achieve by the next time we spoke. This helped me push myself to achieve even more. I was also reassured that I could call or email at any time and speak to Abi or Claire, so my confidence continued to increase.

After a few months, we talked about exercise classes as I felt my home exercise programme had gone as far as it could. I was encouraged to think about taking some kind of gym class tailored to my needs.

I visited the BLF website and used their support group search to find exercise classes near me. I signed up to a class that included cardio and toning exercises, which was run by a personal trainer. Since I joined, I have to say I've never looked back.

I feel so much better

From being unable to walk across a room without getting breathless at the beginning of the year, to being able to walk around a safari park for two hours without even getting tired (one of my goals!) nine months later has been extremely satisfying. I am no longer depressed; my confidence has rocketed and I feel so much better. Life is good again!

If you're unsure about joining Active Steps, speak to someone from the programme. It costs nothing and it delivers very positive results. They will help and encourage you to do your absolute best.  They're not expecting you to be able to run a marathon, just to achieve a better way of life.

My quality of life has improved immensely, and I can definitely attribute it to the support and encouragement of Active Steps. I can't recommend the programme enough!

Sign up for Active Steps

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16 December 2019