'A HUGE difference'.

That is how one patient has described the impact of an Otley GP practice's new Balance and Stability classes.

Westgate Surgery only began the sessions, aimed at improving the health and mobility of patients aged 50 and over, at the end of May but has already started receiving some glowing feedback.

Running from 2pm to 2.45pm each Thursday they are led by OnePrimaryCare's Fitness Manager, Simon Long.

He said: "“We have received a lot of feedback from our patients who would like some more support and care for their mobility.

"We care about their needs and have put together the resources to be able to meet these.

"This is a unique class and we’ve already received lots of interest.

"We are really excited to see how our patients’ mobility improves over the next few weeks!"

Open to those of all abilities and to unregistered patients, the class's exercises are mainly chair based with a focus on low impact and low, to medium, intensity.

Edie Bates (pictured above) is one of the patients who has given the sessions a go and been delighted with the results.

She said: "I’ve only attended two Balance and Stability classes with Simon at Westgate Surgery and have already experienced a huge difference in my mobility.

"Simon has helped immensely in giving me exercises to strengthen the muscles around my hip, which is essential as I am scheduled to have a hip operation soon.

"I can’t recommend the classes enough!"

The initiative is part of OnePrimaryCare's commitment to providing care to the community - and has also been arranged in response to patient demand.

Lead GP at Westgate Surgery, Dave Kirby, said: "Mobility is something that is naturally really valuable to our patients.

"We have committed ourselves to offering a range of services for the community, and the Balance and Stability classes cater for the requests we have had in recent months.

"Simon is a very experienced personal trainer who delivers the balance class as a bespoke session for our older patients."

The poster advertising the class stresses the health benefits it can deliver - and the dangers of inactivity.

It says: "Physical activity and exercise can help you stay healthy, energetic and independent as you get older.

"Many adults aged 65 and over spend, on average, ten hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary group.

"They're paying a high price for their inactivity with higher rates of falls, obesity, heart disease and early death compared with the general population."

To find out more or to book a place call (01943) 660533.