Going to the gym to get fit after 50: Patrick's story

Patrick Sawdon, 64, has made exercise a big part of his life since joining a gym after heart bypass surgery nine years ago. He explains the impact going to the gym regularly has had on his health.

Patrick Sawdon at the gym

After having heart bypass surgery, cardiac rehabilitation sessions helped Patrick Sawdon, 64, develop a true appreciation for exercise.

Having suffered from pain between the shoulder blades for more than two years, Patrick was diagnosed with angina. In December 2008, he had bypass surgery. After recovering for a few weeks, he joined a cardiac rehab programme at his local gym.

I’ve learned to care about my body, which needs respect, rather than being taken for granted

“I felt liberated from my old, sluggish body,” he says. It inspired Patrick to join a gym, and he’s been going for the last nine years. This, along with a low-fat, balanced diet, led him to lose four stone, which he’s kept off.

“I aim to go to the gym on the same three mornings every week, so they’re in my diary,” he says. “I love challenging myself to do better on the treadmill, although I do a variety of exercises on the machines, the mats and with weights. I pride myself on being able to do a plank for six and a half minutes!”

Patrick Sawdon at the gym

Encouraging others to enjoy the benefits of the gym

Patrick moved to Coventry six years ago. Motivated by his own experience, he volunteered at the Atrium gym, which provides rehab for heart and lung patients from University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire. He’s now a non-executive director of the gym.

“I greet patients, fit heart monitors and help with the equipment,” says Patrick. “I hope I can help relieve their worries by saying: ‘I’ve been through this and I can’t tell you how much good it did me.’ It’s a fabulous atmosphere of mutual support.”

With exercise now a big part of his life, Patrick feels younger and more positive. “I’ve learned to care about my body, which needs respect, rather than being taken for granted.”

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