Man lifting weights.

Woolgoolga's Simon Putrill rates the fitness and education program run by Coffs Harbour's Cardiac Rehabilitation team.

Simon says don’t miss a beat when it comes to heart health

Sep 29, 2023

It was by pure chance that Woolgoolga local Simon Peutrill mentioned to his GP he was experiencing some pain in his chest, and while the marathon runner wasn’t too worried about it, his doctor insisted that he have some tests.

A cardiac stress test later, Simon was shocked to learn that while his heart was in good condition, he had some partially blocked arteries and needed surgery.

“I was training for a half marathon at the time, so I couldn’t believe the results. I wasn’t overweight, I didn’t have high blood pressure and, generally, I was a healthy individual. At one point in my life, I was a personal trainer. I was flabbergasted at the results,” Mr Peutrill said.

After seeing a cardiologist, Simon was fast tracked for surgery and within a few weeks he was back on the Mid North Coast ready to take part in a seven-week cardiac rehabilitation program at Coffs Harbour Health Campus.

“I became very impatient after the surgery. I felt like it was a mechanical problem and once the plumbing was fixed, I should have been able to get back into running marathons, but I soon realised there were other factors involved and it has taken me about 12 weeks to recover,” he said.

As part of that recovery, Simon joined a group fitness and education program run by a holistic team of clinicians in the Community Health Department called Cardiac Rehabilitation.

“The program was a great combination of information, support, and exercise, and I was surrounded by people in the same situation as me. I was able to talk with the other participants which helped me learn more about diet and lifestyle, mindset and wellness, nutrition, and exercise.

“It was great to come here in a safe environment to learn what exercises to do and how to get back into shape.”

Participants in the program have access to a variety of clinicians in a number of different disciplines, including dietitians and social workers as well as one-on-one workout instruction with Clinical Nurse Consultants who monitor those visiting the gym on a weekly basis.

Mid North Coast Local Health District Cardiac Rehabilitation Registered Nurse Dorothea Froehlich said it is important to have all the different disciplines working together within the cardiac journey.

“We have the privilege of being with the participants for a short period of time, seeing them change and walk out of this program to tackle their own lifestyle and health changes,” she said.

“We all work very closely together a holistic patient, in a program that leads to stronger heart health.”

World Heart Day is today, 29 September, reminding us all to take care of our heart health you can find out more information at: World Heart Day – World Heart Day (

three health workers making a heart symbol with their hands.

Coffs Harbour Cardiac Rehab Program team: Cardiac Rehab RN Dorothea Froehlich, Dietitian Katie Drury and Social Worker Sue Selby have a simple but vital message to everyone – take care of your heart.

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