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Heart charity launches bid to improve region's cardiac health

A Wessex heart charity is launching a pilot scheme aimed at improving the cardiac health of people across the region.

Helen Clarkson from the Southampton Family Team and Managing Partner Catherine Maxfield get their heart rates monitored as part of the Wessex Heartbeat 12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge.

Wessex Heartbeat is trialling a new ’12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge’, which will see people take small, achievable steps to improve their health each week.

The scheme is being piloted by around 50 people from the South’s business community from April 9th and, if successful, will be rolled out to the general public later in the year.

The Wessex Heartbeat ’12 Week Healthy Heart Challenge’ will run in a way that encourages small subtle changes to our daily lifestyle, in easily manageable ways, that are fun and achievable.  Participants start with a health check from one of Wessex Heartbeat’s cardiac nurses, checking everything from their weight and cholesterol to blood pressure and BMI.

They then get sent a new achievable challenge to complete each week, such as drinking 2-3 litres of water a day or walking a certain number of steps. A special Facebook group will give daily heart health tips and host live workout sessions in association with Brightside Personal Training. At the end of the programme, participants can expect to see positive improvements on their heart health stats.

Wessex Heartbeat’s chief executive John Munro says the achievable and incremental nature of the challenge means it’s much more likely to improve heart health than an extreme fitness regime or fad diet.

John, who lost five stone himself by making similar lifestyle changes, says: “Taking small steps each week means people will be far more likely to succeed in getting fitter and healthier. The feeling of achieving one goal can really motivate you to achieve the next and the group nature of ‘we’re all in this together’ will also be a real driver.”

Coronary heart disease remains the number one killer in the UK and there are around 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease today.

John said: “These are worrying stats and so prevention is critical for us going forward. If we want to stop people dying from heart disease later in life we need to get them heart healthy now. If we can get people to take small steps to improve their health through initiatives such as the 12 Week Challenge then we’re going some way to achieving that.”

Businesses taking part in the challenge include:

  • Lee Peck Media (Southampton)
  • Eric Robinson (Winchester and Southampton)
  • Hendy Group (Chandler’s Ford)
  • Wilkins Kennedy (Chandler’s Ford)
  • Old Mutual (Southampton)

The top performing male and female on the challenge will win a 12 weeks of personal training with Brightside Personal Training, along with 12 cases of Hildon water to keep them hydrated.

To find out more and register interest for the public 12 Week Challenge, which will take place later in the year following the trial, visit

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