October 8, 2015

Lungs in Action: An Instructor’s Perspective

Emma Gainer, Program Manager, Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Lungs in Action, Lung Foundation Australia

In the next two editions of LungNet News, the Lungs in Action update will focus on the perspective of an instructor and a participant. In this edition, participant Allan Roue will be asking instructor Jane Braund the hard questions. Stay tuned for the next edition when the tables are turned and Jane gets to ask the questions of one of her dedicated participants.

Instructor Name: Jane Braund
Lungs in Action Location: St Clair, NSW
Time as a Lungs in Action Instructor: 18 months

1. Why did you decide to become a Lungs in Action Instructor?

To assist people in improving their fitness and strength and to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

2. You had to complete Lung Foundation Australia’s Lungs in Action training program to become an instructor. What was your experience of the training?

The training was more in depth than I imagined. It gave me an insight into lung disease and how debilitating it can be on a person’s life, as well as the pressure it can put on their loved ones. I was also introduced to a dedicated team in pulmonary rehabilitation at a couple of different hospitals around Sydney who showed me the type of exercise they provide in rehab for their patients. This was very similar to what I provide in my exercise class for my participants. It gave me peace of mind as I’m not in the medical field and initially did worry about whether I was going to provide the correct exercises and not over-exert the participants.

3. What do you like best about instructing a Lungs in Action class?

We have a great group of participants that have challenges every day, yet don’t give up. I enjoy the comradery and the support they offer each other too. The social side and the friendship they have with each other is good to see.

4. What has been your highlight as an instructor?

Seeing the participants’ admissions into hospital decrease over the time they have been regularly exercising.

5. What qualities do you feel are important to have as an instructor?

I’ve been told I’m a people person, and it is important to make everyone feel welcome. You need to have good listening skills, compassion and understanding.

6. Why is ongoing exercise important for those who have completed pulmonary rehabilitation?

Exercise is important for everyone, but especially for people who have had injuries and/or health issues such as lung disorders. Being physically stronger can assist in everyday activities, such as doing the grocery shopping and putting it away, emptying the washing machine, hanging out clothes and other everyday activities. Exercise improves strength, fitness and range of motion, as well as helping to reduce hospital admissions.

7. What exercises do you provide?

We provide a range of exercises, such as cardiovascular and weight training and sometimes we provide boxing fitness which is modified to suit the participant’s ability.

8. Do you have any advice to other exercise professionals interested in running a Lungs in Action class?

If you choose to become a Lungs in Action instructor, you will not only provide fitness benefits to some amazing people, you will give their families a little peace of mind that their loved one is doing their best to maintain their independence. You are offering another service to your community where people benefit from your direction. Your participants will be remarkable people that may teach you something too.

General Comments:

It’s motivational when clients tell me they now find it easier to put their shoes on, reach for a cup in the cupboard, or take an item down from the wardrobe. For me, this means a little more independence has been gained for this person from the classes. It’s also great to see that their admissions to hospital have lessened by half in the past 12 months. This is fantastic for them and their families. These are all things most of us take for granted, but are greatly beneficial to these participants.

For details of your nearest Lungs in Action program, please visit www.lungsinaction.com.au or phone Lung Foundation Australia’s Information and Support Centre on freecall 1800 654 301.