an UXBRIDGE man has taken up a job as a fitness instructor – just over a year after a heart attack left him fighting for his life
Alan Storer, 61, underwent triple bypass surgery after the attack in March last year.
Since then he has turned his life around, lost five stones in weight and begun teaching an over-50s class at Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Centre.
For the former civil engineer it was a remarkable turn of events.
Mr Storer, who lives in Harefield Road with his wife, Maggie, said: “I would never say a heart attack was the best thing that ever happened to me but since then it has certainly changed my life for the better.
“I turned 60 in August 2010 and by then I was the heaviest I had ever been, at 22 stone. I started doing a little exercise but then in March the following year I had the problem with my heart.”
He was in bed when he started having chest pains and was admitted to Hillingdon Hospital where it was confirmed he had suffered the attack.
“Some of the weight I had lost then probably made the difference in me pulling through.
“I was in hospital for five weeks and I can’t praise the staff at the Hillingdon Cardio Rehabilitation Unit enough for what they did for me,” he said.
Upon his release Mr Storer took up swimming and started visiting the leisure centre off Gatting Way after he recovered from the bypass surgery, and found himself taking a liking to the environment and the effect it was having on his life.
The father-of-two added: “I came to realise that I didn’t want to return to my previous stressful job, and I began to wonder if there was some way in which I could give something back towards coronary aftercare, or at least helping to reduce the risk in older people.
“Somewhat naively I pitched the idea of regular, gym-based sessions aimed at older people, to be led by an older person able to empathise with that age group, and perhaps with direct experience of the consequences of a sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. Me in short.”
Mr Storer went on to pass a fitness instructor qualification and was given a job at the centre. He is now taking a regular class on Wednesday afternoons for the over-50s, called Fitter 50 Plus, and is now looking to expand his qualifications to work with people who, like him, have suffered health issues.
“The whole thing has given me a new lease of life, I am happier and feel so much better in myself,” he said.
“I am now looking forward and very excited about what the future could hold.”