Richard’s still reaping the rewards of regular exercise

If you’ve been listening to Compass FM over the past few months you will have heard about a very special mission set for the station’s Richard Lyon, as he aims to improve his health and wellbeing throughout 2017 by joining Lincs Inspire’s Active Forever wellness scheme and making this year his most active yet.

The Active Forever programme is packed with health and wellbeing activities designed to support over 55s or anyone with an ongoing health condition, regardless of their age, who would benefit from both physical and mental activity.

Now nine months into his health and wellbeing journey we wanted to know how Richard has found things so far. Richard explained: “It’s had its ups and downs, it’s like anything when you start it you’re full of pride and passion and you want to go. I must admit I still get the same enthusiasm, but some mornings when I know it’s a gym morning it’s like, ‘Oh really?’, but once I’m here it’s a completely different mind-set and change of mind totally.”

Richard has found the support from Lincs Inspire’s staff integral to staying motivated and getting the most out of the programme, he explained: “What I like about the team here is; I was thinking I was plateauing a little bit doing the same old thing and so the guys here changed it up a little bit by putting weights on my tummy and all that kind of thing. We’ve done quite a lot of other stuff, we’ve been in the gym, we’ve done some free weights and all of that and I’m lapping all that up!”

Richard has learnt that variety is key to getting the most out of the programme and would recommend changing up your exercise routine, he explained:

“I think what I’ve learned mostly is don’t do the same thing all the time. You must change what you do.”

That aspect is one that sets the Active Forever programme apart from others due to the sheer variety of health and wellbeing activities available as part of the programme. With wellbeing activities available across Cleethorpes Leisure Centre, Grimsby Leisure Centre, King George V Stadium, Immingham Swimming Pool, Bradley Football Development Centre, as well as Lincs Inspire Libraries, you can find the activities and venues that are right for you.

The atmosphere within Lincs Inspire’s facilities is something that Richard has enjoyed, he explained: “It’s done in a nice fun environment… I never thought a gym would be like this at all. I think that’s probably the big thing that I’ve learnt from the whole experience is that actually gyms are not what you probably think they are. Certainly the Toning Suite is a right giggle, it’s a right laugh and when I’ve been in the free weight gym, again it’s the same atmosphere in there.”

The programme has also inspired Richard to do some activities he hadn’t done in a while. Richard said: “I’ve also been in the swimming pool which is a big thing for me. I hadn’t been swimming for about five or six years because you think the bigger you are, the more people will look, actually they’re not bothered. The guy who runs it over there [at Grimsby Leisure Centre swimming pool], I remember him saying to me; ‘Don’t bother what other people are saying or looking, because they’re just not doing that, at the end of the day they just want you to do well and that’s what all the staff want you to do.’ Actually I took that, I went in the pool and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t know why I hadn’t been going years ago. So it’s nice, it’s confidence building. I didn’t have the body of the gym instructor I was talking to, but that doesn’t matter, the fact of the matter is, you’re actually doing something. I took a lot away from that guy I thought it was really good.”

Richard feels the programme has been a great way of breaking down barriers that perhaps would have stopped him from exercising in the past, he explained: “I don’t think I would of done half the stuff if it hadn’t of been for the encouragement of the team and the other people around me.” He added: “I’ll give anything a go and I think that’s the attitude you need when you come to these places. You need to really get rid of any inhibitions.”

When asked what advice he has for people who may be thinking about starting their own wellbeing journey, Richard said:

“One of my big things is enjoy it. Whatever’s put in your way, just give it a go and I’m living proof that actually, I wasn’t the archetypal ‘gym person’ at all, but I love coming every week!”

If you would like to join the Active Forever programme please speak to a member of Lincs Inspire’s wellbeing team about self-referral, or speak to a health professional, i.e. your GP, practice nurse, health trainer or physiotherapist, to see if you can be referred onto the programme. Lincs Inspire has a team of trained wellbeing staff and fitness instructors on hand to guide you on your Active Forever journey! So whether you want to work out in the gym, make a splash in one of Lincs Inspire’s swimming pools, join in a group exercise class, or get creative with Lincs Inspire’s Arts Development team, the Active Forever programme offers something for both body and mind.

You can find out more about the Active Forever wellness scheme here.

You can also keep up-to-date with Richard’s journey to improve his health and wellbeing on Compass FM, 96.4FM. Richard’s weekly Active Forever podcasts are available to listen to on: