North Ormesby grandmother bins sweets for a healthier future
A MIDDLESBROUGH grandmother has vowed to give up chocolate and complete her first 10k run after suffering a heart attack.
Ali Dent, of North Ormesby, was quick to sign up to the Gazette's Get a Better Life campaign following its launch yesterday.
The 67-year-old knows at first hand what eating too much fat and not getting enough exercise can do to your body. Ali had just returned from spending three months with her son in America when she was rushed to hospital after suffering a heart attack two years ago.
She said: "As far as I could see, I was fit and healthy but it's only when you go to the gym you find out you are not that fit. The heart attack was my warning. A week later I was home but I did not even dare walk to the corner shop in case I had another heart attack."
After seeing a doctor, Ali joined a Get Active on Prescription (GAP) scheme for which she now acts as a mentor.
She took up aqua fit and keep fit at the Neptune Centre, line dancing classes at the Trinity Centre and signed up to a Slimming World class at Pennyman House.
But she is not stopping there. Having experienced the benefits of a more active lifestyle, Ali has pledged to take part in the Tees Pride 10k run. "I feel 100% better, 100% fitter and where clothes are concerned I feel 200% better. When you are in a size 18 and sliding out of it into a size 20 it is a daunting fact that you are going to get bigger," said Ali who has already transformed herself to a size 12.
Department of Health profiles reveal that every year more than 500 people on Teesside suffer early deaths from heart disease and strokes. Many of these could be prevented by simple lifestyle changes, which is one of the reasons why the Gazette has teamed up with the University of Teesside and Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust to launch the Get a Better Life campaign.
"My weakness was always the kids' sweets," said Ali who has also pledged to give up chocolate. The mum-of-two and grandmother-of-two added: "You are never too old, too fat or too sick to improve your health."
The first 1,000 people to pledge to improve their health will get their hands on a free healthy life pack which includes a T-shirt, pedometer, water bottle and a weekend pass for JJB fitness.
Participants are asked to complete an online questionnaire about their eating habits and exercise routine which will be repeated after six months and 12 months. Those signing up will get a free lifestyle assessment and the data collected will be used for a University of Teesside study.