Heart attack victim on road to regaining her health

Date: Tuesday 2nd April 2019

KEEN mountain biker and running enthusiast Gwyneth Timson, from Crosby Ravensworth, near Penrith, is on the road to regaining physical fitness following a heart attack before Christmas last year.

There is a history of heart problems in the family of Gwyneth, a 55-year-old mother of one, and she is determined to ensure she keeps as fit as possible to reduce her chances of another attack.

Her medical team recommended physical activity as an important part of her recovery from the heart attack, although in the early stages of her recovery she is advised not to run and to keep heart rate within a safe limit.

Gwyneth is back walking the 5k Parkrun in Penrith on most Saturday mornings, but she has missed her bike rides in the fells.

“I was already doing and loving Parkruns around Cumbria and South Wales, and mountain biking before I had a heart attack. The medical staff involved in my recovery pointed out that my lifestyle prior to my heart attack had been healthy and so I should work towards being able to return to participating.

“I knew it would enable me to have a sense of progress and a sense of returning to some kind of normality in terms of being active with other people. The fact that you do not need to run at the Parkruns has meant that I could get back to being part of the event as soon as I was able to walk the distance.

“I have returned to my local Parkrun in Penrith, walking the course every Saturday — the last person to check in each week — and I found I was able to return to cycling with an electric bike.

“I had a test ride first after talking to Kat and Paul Clow, at Eden-e-Motion. They were able to put together the perfect e-bike for me. I was able to choose the right saddle for me, and change the handlebars so I was in the perfect position. It was so liberating to be back on a bike, yet having that little extra support when taking on the hills.

“To be able to cycle like I did before, just with that little extra help of the electric motor is fantastic, and really helping with my recovery."

Recovery involves ensuring Gwyneth keeps her heart rate within a safe limit. She manages to monitor this with the help of her fitness watch as well as the monitor on the e-bike itself.

Paul Clow said: “Our customers have bought bikes for all sorts of reasons — to get a bit fitter or keep fit. However, a number do so for rehabilitation from an accident or illness as e-bikes provide a gentle and smooth start on the road to recovery.

“All forms of cycling are good for you as it is low-impact exercise that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Regular cycling has been proven to have many physical and mental benefits. And e-bikes allow you to continue riding where you have a health condition that would prevent you riding a normal bicycle.

“Whether you are a cyclist who would like to go a bit further or one who is returning to cycling after a long period due to injury, illness or want to improve your fitness gradually, e-bikes give you that extra help only when you need it like riding uphill, on a long ride, into the wind or getting back home."