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Sunday, 24 October 2021
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Talkback UK: A lifestyle habit

GARETH is a 37-year-old care home resident with a learning disability, who lives in Bucks. In collaboration with his home, GP and Talkback, Gareth has made a real commitment to physical activity and healthy eating as a lifestyle habit, to transform his health and fitness.

Following advice from his GP to lose weight and control his cholesterol levels, Gareth started eating healthily and attending the gym for two hours a week. His home is integral in helping him plan his meals and encouraging him to maintain a good diet. At Talkback, Gareth attends the Sports and Good Health group, where he shares his knowledge on nutrition with other members. He now incorporates what he has learned on food and healthy living into his daily life.

In 2019 Gareth became a Member Sports Coach with the Talkback Sports Academy, a role he carries out with enthusiasm, encouraging others to participate in physical activity. He has participated in the Youth Sports Award throughout lockdown, which has helped him to review his activity levels and set personal goals of 30 minutes daily for 4 – 5 days a week. Talkback tracks his progress on a weekly basis and the results have been amazing – Gareth routinely achieves the minimum award requirement of 120 minutes of exercise per week, and often exceeds expectations to reach up to 260 minutes.

Before lockdown, Gareth’s exercise consisted of attending the gym for two hours a week, along with a multi-sports session at Talkback as Assistant Member Coach. After lockdown, Talkback provided Gareth with a laptop to enable him to join their virtual programme, where he attended several dance and fitness sessions which helped him to reach his goals.

The stress of lockdown has not been easy for anyone, but the regularity of the virtual programme, plus weekly Teams calls to review progress, really helped Gareth maintain a clear structure to his week. In addition to physical activity sessions, he also attended the Talkback Arts programme, which included creative activities focusing on wellbeing, positivity, mindfulness, and the senses. Gareth uses these techniques at home when he wants to relax or cope with stress.

He has now returned to live sessions but still maintains his virtual routine. Gareth is back, encouraging others to be active by co-leading a group ‘Get Moving’ session. He has gone on to set new goals, such as reducing his coffee intake, drinking more water, and increasing his walks into town.

Simply reading about Gareth’s exercise regime is enough to induce tiredness in us mere mortals. What he has achieved is a lifestyle habit, that has not only made him physically strong, but also more independent, confident, and self-assured; a testament to his determination and enthusiasm, and also to the support from Talkback, his family and his home.

Go Gareth.

Gareth Bailey said: 

“I went to my GP. He said my cholesterol was not good. I started going to the gym and I have help with my diet. Talkback helped me with my diet and exercise, and I like being a Sports coach. I feel really positive, I love my life.”

Thanks to Helen Krauze and Kellie Killeen from Talkback for Gareth’s story.

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