1 July 2015

Earlier this year, two fitness managers and four fitness instructors at YMCA Wimbledon completed an NHS led training programme designed to support people wanting to give up smoking. With this training, the Health & Wellbeing team at YMCA Wimbledon would like to offer a stop smoking service at the YMCA later in the year.

Until then, gym users in Wimbledon who say they would like to stop smoking, will be referred to the Sutton and Merton stop smoking service.

A healthier lifestyle

We’re adding the simple question ‘Do you smoke?’ to our lifestyle form” says David Bassett, gym manager at YMCA Wimbledon. Smoking is closely related to a range of health issues and stopping smoking is one path down the route to a healthier lifestyle. By asking gym users about smoking, David hopes the gym at YMCA Wimbledon can support more people to change their lifestyle.

Ruth Dawson, volunteer fitness instructor at YMCA Wimbledon, is volunteering once a week at the gym whilst studying to become a nutrition therapist.

I’ve previously done some work with GP exercise referrals,” Ruth says, “but I wanted to get some experience from a gym so that’s why I started volunteering at YMCA Wimbledon. I really like it – we’ve got all sorts of different clients here, and I learn a lot from the managers and the other instructors”.

Motivation and support over six weeks

Motivation is key to giving up smoking,” says Ruth. “The motivation needs to come from the smoker himself, and not from their partner, parent or child. They need to really want to give it up”.

However, the training also taught us that smokers who get some support are four times more likely to succeed. That’s why Livewell Merton has set up a six week stop smoking programme that we are now trained to deliver. The programme aims to provide people with the support they need to stop smoking in the community, where it can be easily accessed, like for instance, in the gym,” Ruth explains.

Over the course of the six weeks, we will meet up with the person who wants to stop smoking once a week to talk about how it is going and keep motivation up,” Ruth says. “Also, every week we’ll measure their carbon dioxide levels. This can be a great motivational factor, as carbon dioxide levels go down very quickly when you stop smoking, and you will quickly see results.

We are also able to explain and recommend the different stop smoking aids on the market, which are a great help to many people in stopping”.

Mental triggers

Giving up smoking often requires a fair amount of mental strength. Ruth says and important part of the six week training, is to identify and learn to deal with triggers that can prevent you from succeeding.

Triggers can be social events like meeting friends and going to the pub, or stress and anxiety. We talk about how to cope with those situations and what you can do to prevent yourself from smoking. It can be simple things such as not having cigarettes in the house, or meeting friends at a different place or for a different activity,” Ruth says.

Help to get through the first six weeks

Research shows that the first six weeks after giving up smoking are the toughest. “The idea behind this programme is that if you get support throughout these first six weeks, you will be much better equipped to manage on your own thereafter”, says Ruth.

She feels it makes perfect sense to offer a programme like this in the gym at YMCA Wimbledon, which is a centre that is all about health and wellbeing in the wider sense of the term, and not just about being fit and looking good.

Feel good this summer

If you would like to know more about the stop smoking service in Merton and Sutton, or would simply like some advice on how to go about stopping smoking, talk to a member of staff working in the Health & Wellbeing facilities at YMCA Wimbledon.

Also this summer you can try our gym and get unlimited access to all the fitness exercise classes at YMCA Wimbledon for 30 days for only £35.

Included in the offer is a free Get started programme (five sessions worth over £100 if booked separately) and no joining fee if you decide to sign up for a membership after our trial period.

Read more, or contact YMCA Wimbledon via email: info.wimbledon@ymcalsw.org or call 020 8245 9055.