Kenneth Haynes joins the virtual “Walk to Everest”

During the Covid 19 lockdown period which started in March of this year, all of the charity Cardiac Rehabilitation tutors kept in touch with their individual class members, making sure they were well and keeping up their fitness. I regularly phoned Ken for a chat to see how he was coping with these strange circumstances. He would tell me he was keeping active, gardening and being busy around his house. However, he admitted he was really missing the exercises and seeing the other class members.  Before this lockdown period, Ken was attending a weekly gym class at Monmouth Leisure Centre. Very rarely absent, I could always rely on Ken to be there.

In August, when I told Ken we were starting walking groups, he was keen to take part, and has been going to Usk every week since they started. We have now also added a walk at Monmouth, so less travelling for Ken and all Monmouth class members.

Recently, I asked Ken if he would give a telephone interview, providing an insight of his active, healthy lifestyle from his late teens to the present day. I am pleased to say he agreed, and this is what he told me:

Question 1: What was your occupation?

Ken told me that he went into the Air Force for National Service at the age of 18 for 2 years. After this he went to Liverpool University to study Architecture, staying on for a further post graduate qualification in Regional Town Planning. His career in this field took him to living in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) for 6 years, Australia for 9 years and then to London. Ken worked for the Greater London Council until his retirement in 1987 and subsequently moved to live in Wales.

Question 2: When did you have your first cardiac event? 

In 2002 Ken said he had a heart attack. He attended the phase III programme at Nevill Hall Hospital and has been going to the phase IV Classes at Monmouth for the last 18 years.

Question 3: Did you exercise before attending the phase IV Classes?

Ken says that he has always been a keen walker and also cycled when he was younger.  Gardening also kept him active and still does. However, he had never exercised in a gym before attending the cardiac classes.

Question 4: What are your hobbies?

Reading history, biography and books about the planet’s future are favourite subjects for Ken.  He also was involved with church recording – surveying and cataloguing interiors of churches, and compiling detailed inventories, up until a few years ago. He is also a keen classical music fan.

Question 5: What is your secret to keep so well and active?

Ken points out that he has never smoked and only drinks alcohol occasionally. He has always eaten a balanced healthy diet. Also has kept his mind active since retirement, being involved with community projects.

Covid 19 has changed our lives greatly. However, we can still find a way to keep exercising and maintaining our fitness. Meeting up as a group, obeying all the social distancing rules, we may be barely recognisable in our rainbow of face masks, however, the classes remain united. Everyone who comes to the walks is contributing to the virtual Walk to Everest, which we hope will raise funds to help keep the North Gwent Cardiac Rehabilitation and aftercare Charity continuing.

I would like to say a big “thank you” Ken, for letting me interview you and finding out your tips for keeping fit and well. You are an inspiration.  Ken is happy for me to say that he has celebrated his 91st birthday this year. Amazing.

Helen Sanchez

Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise Tutor