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Raising heartbeats and Smiles – Healthiness Ltd comes to PSS

Why does the thought of exercise make some of us shudder?

Many of us see exercise as scary or a form of stress, when in actual fact all the benefits you receive from a workout deliver the exact opposite.

Exercise has that ability to help you let go of your worries and smile, it has the ability to get your blood and adrenaline pumping - which is well needed on a grey and miserable day!

At PSS Wellbeing Centres we understand there’s a crucial link between mental and physical health, it’s something a lot of us appreciate but don’t tend to put into action.

All of us need some help sometimes, that motivator to spur us on and encourage us to get moving. Here at PSS support has arrived in the form of Healthiness Ltd, a non-profit health and exercise provider.

This organisation, funded by the Big Lottery, Henry Smith Foundation, Sport England and the NHS, is on a mission to increase physical activity in Liverpool while reducing social isolation in older people and people experiencing mental and physical health issues.

Programme Director Andy Ireland has been getting people inspired across the city for the past six years. Acting as head of a friendly team of seven Healthiness Ltd proves how one small crew can deliver a very big impact. After all, this one team manages to deliver nearly 40 classes and get around 300 people attending at their sessions each week!

And now Healthiness Ltd is coming to the PSS Wellbeing Centres to give us some moving motivation. These exercise taster sessions - delivered by trainers qualified in mental health, pain management and exercise for disabilities - are beginner friendly and are aimed to be an all-round mood booster, with classes ranging from Bootcamp to Active Bingo.

Andy reassured PSS that anyone that feels the sweat from just the word exercise has nothing to fear with the Healthiness Ltd workouts.

Andy said: “Many people are put off by the word ‘exercise; they may have had a bad experience in school or in their youth, or may have had an accident or incident at a gym or sports facility, and it's put them off completely.

“Others have a real fear they will make any condition they have far worse as they imagine the old ‘no pain no gain’ mantra so they don't even entertain doing it.

He added: “But physical activity; anything that gets you slightly out of breath and a little hot and sweaty, does you good, be it walking, gardening or house work, it all counts! If you can do that for around 30 minutes a day that's enough to benefit your health - simple as that!"

At Healthiness Ltd many, if not all, of their participants are living with multiple health conditions – both mental and physical and these are the people who benefit from exercise the most.

“Regular physical activity has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression by around 50%!” Andy explained.

“You produce a lot of natural hormones when you exercise, including ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Serotonin’. These hormones help regulate many bodily functions. Dopamine is involved in movement, coordination, and a person's feelings of pleasure and reward. Serotonin is involved in emotions as well, but it also affects digestion and metabolism, so both play a part in improving your mood.” Andy and the team's goal doesn’t just include getting more people active, it also includes making exercise more accessible and affordable. With the cost of the living crisis looming over our heads this winter a gym membership is out of the question for many people. Healthiness Ltd provides that friendly and feasible alternative to warm you up in the colder months, whether that be in a nearby community venue or your own living room.

“We have face to face and online classes, we have Facebook and Zoom sessions as well as a library full of easy-to-follow classes on our YouTube channel. We aren't aware of anyone else in Liverpool who delivers the kind of sessions we deliver, everything from Chair Based Exercise, Falls Prevention and Arthritis based classes, to Boxercise, Toning and even Bootcamp!” Andy said.

“In one class we might have people with arthritis, cancer, diabetes, dementia, depression, CHD, people with walking sticks or walking aids, all there to do what they can do to improve their health.

“Our programmes are evidence based and delivered by highly trained Instructors to specifically improve stability, balance and strength, reduce stress, anxiety and depression (amongst others) as well as empowered people to improve their own health and that of their friends and family." Andy added: “I love delivering programmes as it's so rewarding, seeing people you met in hospital after a heart attack attend a class, then tell you it's changed their lives completely, well, there's no better reward than that!”

Healthiness Ltd is coming to the Umbrella Centre from the 12th of October and will be delivering their sessions at 3.30pm for seven weeks. To register your interest get in touch with our PSS Wellbeing Practitioner Sylvie on 07708835437.

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