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FUNCTIONAL

LIFE

STAGES

Having good functional fitness is a lifetime requirement.

We speak to operators taking functional fitness back to its roots to aid rehabilitation

F

unctional training has its roots in rehabilitation, with the term first used back in the 1990s, when exercises that mimicked real-life situations and activities were used to help patients return to pre-injury level as quickly and safely as possible. Studies now show that, as well as greatly increasing the speed of recovery after surgery, improved health prior to a major operation hugely reduces death rates.

PROOF OF CONCEPT

ERAS+ (Enhanced Recovery After Surgery+) is a Greater Manchester-based lifestyle programme, designed by senior NHS health care professionals alongside GM Active organisations, working closely with patients who have had major surgery. One year on from implementation, ERAS+ patients saw a 50 per cent reduction in post-operative pulmonary complications such as pneumonia and their length of hospital stay following major surgery reduced by three days.

SPEEDY RECOVERY

Trafford Leisure’s referral programme enables NHS consultants in South Manchester to refer patients to their centres, where a personalised exercise plan is developed to improve the patient’s health pre-surgery and support post-surgical recovery. Ian Sherriff, 67, is the organisation’s Activity Health Referral expert, 80

“ A success story for me is getting someone independent and giving them a second lease of life Ian Sherriff, Trafford Leisure, activity health referral specialising in cancer rehabilitation at Sale Leisure Centre. Passionate about pre- and post-surgery exercise regimes and overall good health in the over 60s, Sherriff develops functional exercise programmes for referral patients, using everyday situations to get customers moving again. From bending down to touch the toes, helping someone do up their shoes, to stretching arms up while holding small weights – replicating reaching for a high shelf – Sherriff believes the legs and core are the most important muscle groups in functional training. He uses squats and lunges to work both these groups and also to improve balance.

healthclubmanagement.co.uk March 2019 ©Cybertrek 2019

“It’s fundamental stuff, but absolutely essential,” he says. “Customers with health- or age-related problems are often very sedentary, so I have to think carefully about how to apply functional training in light of their restrictions, for example, when teaching exercises from a seated position, crouching over and moving the legs inwards gives a similar effect to a sit up. “We also practice standing up and sitting down, and going up and down stairs. A success story for me is getting someone independent and giving them a second lease of life. “When I meet with a new referral they’re often nervous about the gym due to their health issues. So I break down their preconceptions of what exercise is, showing them the positive effect exercise can have on your general health and mental stability, using my age and my own medical history as an incentive.” Thirteen years ago Sherriff was diagnosed with prostate cancer and had a tumour growing on his kidney. Treatment included surgery as well as eight weeks radiotherapy. Simple functional exercise routines gave him additional energy, lifted his mood and aided his recovery. He says: “I felt scared that the cancer and the treatment were out of my control. Exercise enabled me to take an active part in my recovery; it gave me some of the power back.” Sherriff went on to make a full recovery, transformed his life and

Profile for Leisure Media

Health Club Management March 2019  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.

Health Club Management March 2019  

Health Club Management is the magazine and online community for decision-makers in the global health club, fitness and gym industry.

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