When Mike Breen had a massive heart attack it was a huge wake-up call to stay fit.
The Papatoetoe business owner lay in a coma for nine days and spent time in Middlemore Hospital's intensive care unit back in May.
As part of his rehabilitation he signed up to the Counties Manukau Health's Beyond 20,000 days campaign.
The "fit to exercise" programme aims to improve the health of people with heart failure and other cardiac conditions.
Mr Breen was one of 17 people to graduate the pilot programme run at the AUT University South campus gym.
The Papakura resident now walks an hour each day and does other exercises he has learnt from the programme.
"I had never been to a gym before so I was a little apprehensive but it's been fantastic and I have more confidence," Mr Breen says.
Counties Manukau Health's Sarah Mooney says they now have two classes under way at the university.
"We are also noticing that as people become more aware of their condition they are becoming more confident in their ability to exercise," she says.
There are plans to develop a women-only programme and one for people with heart failure with a weight of more than 140kg who can't use gym equipment.
The Beyond 20,000 days campaign is part of the 20,000 days campaign.
It aims to reduce the number of hospital admissions and give 20,000 well days back to the community.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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