We’re used to seeing Mr Motivator on television screens, with his big smile, upbeat style and brightly coloured Lycra.
But many people won’t know, he’s also an expert at helping devise exercise programmes for people with a range of very challenging medical conditions.
What does Mr Motivator do now?
Now he’s teamed up with Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, in volunteering to help improve the fitness of patients who’ve experienced heart failure, by making a new home exercise video.
The patients can follow different movements, which would usually be prescribed to them by a specialist physiotherapist.
Derrick Evans MBE
Derrick Evans MBE, famous as Mr Motivator, says: “I saw this as an opportunity to reach a small group of people with a need, that I wanted to help.
“When it came to putting this together, I listened to professional advice and then presented the moves in the Mr Motivator style.
“I always say – let’s make it safe, let’s make it effective, but most of all let’s make it fun. That way it will entice anybody, no matter what condition they’re dealing with.”
Ruth Bradley, a Specialist Physiotherapist in Heart and Lung Transplants at Wythenshawe Hospital, reached out to Mr Motivator, with her special request.
The unit she works in covers a massive geographical area in the North of England, which stretches from the Lake District, down to Stoke and across to Leeds.
Ruth says, “We wanted to help patients access some exercise at home, as we couldn’t put on classes covering such a large area.
“Some of them really do need motivating and one day I thought, who better to help them, than Mr Motivator!”
What does a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) do?
The new programme is specifically for patients who have a lifesaving electric pump device fitted to make their hearts pump, called a Left Ventricular Assist Device, or LVAD.
These machines are used by people who are experiencing left ventricular heart failure.
They can improve their quality of life, whilst they’re waiting for a heart transplant.
Ruth comments: “To be eligible for a heart transplant, you can’t be frail. You have to be as fit as you can be, within the limits of your condition.
“These patients need help with exercise and keeping fit, before and after their operations, or to manage their condition.
“We’ll use this video for patients who either can’t access cardiac rehab, or those who need more help and support from a health and fitness point of view.”
Ruth also stars in the video doing the exercises, alongside one of her patients – Bob Gower.
They both perform a mix of cardiovascular exercises and strengthening exercises, aimed at all levels of ability.
Bob, from Blackburn, experienced heart failure in his late forties and has had an LVAD device fitted for the last six years.
The Electric Cranks
The 70-year-old is also known as one of the ‘Electric Cranks’, a group of electric bike riders who’ve all experienced a similar medical heart condition.
This year Countryfile featured them on a programme in July, where they cycled up a 1,300 ft hill climb, to the Tan Hill Inn, the highest pub in Britain.
They’ve also tackled rides of more than 130 miles, from Grange- over-Sands to Sunderland climbing the equivalent of 8,500 miles.
Bob says: “Life with an LVAD is not easy and I’ve been told I’ve got this device, for the rest of my days now.
“You’re carrying around a lot of bulky electrical equipment strapped to your body. You’re permanently physically attached to it. You can never take it off or switch it off, it’s always there.”
Bob was on the heart transplant list for four years but didn’t get offered a heart in that time.
He says, “That was fine, I understood there were other people are in greater need.
“Because I’m now 70, the risks of undergoing that major operation, became too great. So I came off the transplant list, as I approached my 70th birthday, last year.”
Bob is happy to have been filmed taking part in exercises for this new video.
“The fact that this team offers something safely tailored for LVAD patients is very encouraging. It’s absolutely wonderful and there needs to be more of that.”
Mr Motivator, now in his early seventies, says, “When you work with someone who is living with a condition and they’ve done that for lots and lots of years, but they’re still here and talking about life in a positive manner – that’s really uplifting.
“When you reach physios, who really care and what they do comes from the heart, is also very uplifting.
“When I get the opportunity to talk on any platform that ‘movement is medicine’, I’m out there doing it.”
One of the crucial messages he promotes is: “Go over the hill, but pick up speed.”
He also reveals the secret of his motivation; “When someone credits you with the reason they’ve done something to help themselves, that’s why I do it. The one thing I always give away is kindness, because it comes back to you in many forms.”
Mr Motivator, shows no signs of slowing down, with a packed schedule throughout 2024.
You can find out more about his exercise programmes by clicking here