The Neuromuscular Centre (NMC), which aims to improve health and wellbeing for people living with neuromuscular conditions, has been awarded £6,000 by Heart Research UK for their new programme ‘Active Bodies, Active Hearts

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The programme targets people who have cardiomyopathy (a general term for diseases of the heart muscle) or are at risk of getting it due to their muscle-wasting condition.

NMC will deliver group and online exercise classes to the target group, as keeping the heart and respiratory system as healthy as possible is vital for them. Staying healthy will support people’s longevity and help them to have a better quality of life.

Progressive muscle-wasting conditions often result in the need for those affected to use a powered wheelchair and other specialist equipment and rely on others to care for them. People with these conditions are also at high risk of heart disease as the heart is subject to the same levels of wastage as other muscles.

65% of people with neuromuscular conditions will experience heart failure and will require a heart device such as pacemaker or defibrillator fitted.

Many in the target group have heart devices fitted but feel there is a lack of rehabilitation and advice provided. NMC have found from previous projects that accessible and monitored exercise, combined with better lifestyle choices, can reduce the risk of cardiovascular challenges and that some heart health improvements can be achieved.

In addition to exercise classes, NMC’s Cardiac Rehabilitation practitioner will also be delivering a series of education workshops on how to live well for a healthier heart. These workshops will cover a range of topics including eating well, benefits of active exercise for heart health and how to self-manage heart health with a device.

The money for the grant was raised through Heart Research UK’s partnership with Subway, through in-store donations across the country. Since 2001, Heart Research UK has awarded over 300 community grants, directly benefiting the hearts of over 70,000 individuals and countless wider community and family members across all regions of the UK.

Dr Helen Flaherty, Head of Health Promotion and Education at Heart Research UK, said:

“We know that many people with neuromuscular conditions and heart disease have lost strength due to lack of physical activity during Covid-19. Therefore, we’re incredibly happy to be able to support the ‘Active Bodies, Active Hearts’ programme which will help people with neuromuscular conditions stay active and keep their hearts healthy.”

If you’d like to find out more about the Healthy Heart Grants, please visit https://heartresearch.org.uk/healthy-heart-grants/