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It's not all about the gym.

National Fitness Day

It’s not all about the gym.

Working out how to approach physical fitness can be very intimidating for some people, so in support of National Fitness Day, the Wellness Improvement Service (WISE) at Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has a great story to share about one of our participants.

Andrew is a 47-year-old bus driver from Merthyr Tydfil, who joined the WISE programme in July 2022 when he was referred by his GP due to his chronic health condition.

Being on the road most of the day, Andrew was not very active and was suffering from high blood pressure.

He was diagnosed by his GP as being pre-diabetic and was struggling with constant back pain, leading to less mobility, and was on pain medication most of the time.

Having these various conditions caused him increased anxiety and often would lead to bouts of low mood and depression.

New beginnings

Andrew was then referred by his GP to the Wellness Improvement Service (WISE).

He completed his initial assessments and was assigned a WISE Wellness coach to help guide him to set personal goals to improve his physical and mental well-being.

Through structured coaching support in WISE groups, Andrew was introduced to the holistic lifestyle medicine tools to enable him to become more active in his self-care and self-management.

On joining, he had immediate personal tailored access to digital healthcare social prescribing applications, digital health libraries, and various additional health programmes.

Andrew and his coach set upon a plan to find physical movement that he was able to do and enjoy.

Not being a fan of vigorous exercise such as sports or going to the gym, Andrew started walking in the mornings before work and sometimes shorter distances in his lunch breaks.

He started very slowly, but built his step count every week to where he is now walking almost 5km per day.

Working with his coach, Andrews's main focus was on:

The understanding and realisation that any physical activity and/or exercise could have immediate and long-term health benefits. Most importantly, the regular activity would improve his quality of life. Physical activity would also help strengthen his muscles and joints, and further increase flexibility and overall mobility.

To set a goal and build up to a minimum of 30 minutes a day to allow him to enjoy these benefits and improve his chronic health conditions such as pre-diabetes and high blood pressure.

Progress so far - 6 weeks of working with a Wellness Coach:

  • Step count and physical exercise increased
  • Anxiety reduced and mood improved
  • 2 stone weight loss
  • Blood pressure normalised
  • Back pain much improved with less pain medication requirement

Andrew has now also joined the Get Fit Wales step programme which encourages people within the CTMUHB community to become more active. Reward vouchers are given out for participants’ step goals which can be spent in local fruit and veg stores, retail outlets, cinema etc.

    For further information please email: or call us on 01685 351 451. Visit our website at:

    Register for the WISE Service

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