The main thing that has helped me manage my illness has been exercise. Yes, the illness that prevents from me getting out of bed in the morning after ‘doing too much’ can actually be helped by doing physical activity – I know, it’s crazy! But if I’m completely honest, it was the best thing I could have done!
It all started when I found out that my local gym in Haltwhistle did something called ‘Healthy Life’ which is basically a program to help people lose weight, especially those with illness, such as mine. So I talked to my Doctor about it and she referred me straight away!
The initial appointment was nerve racking to say the least. I walked in in some hideous baggy jogging bottoms and an oversized hoody and was greeted by a tall and very slim blonde. I felt very short at that moment! I was immediately dreading everything to do with it; all I was thinking was ‘what the hell have I let myself in for’ which is not the greatest thought to have when trying something new!
Anyway, the blonde took me into the office and went through my goals and aims, why I wanted to do this, what I thought it would help me with etc. Then she weighed and measured me (having a complete stranger pulling measuring tape around my tummy and hips was VERY uncomfortable!) and she gave me the choice of two classes I could go to: circuit training or the gym (both 45 mins). I chose circuit training and that was that! She followed me out with a big smile on her face, telling me how good it’ll be and how much I’ll enjoy it and I left feeling ever so slightly more comfortable… but not much!
The next week I set off to go to my very first circuit training session, in what I hope were slightly better blue jogging bottoms and a t-shirt and hoped for the best. And you know what? I thoroughly enjoyed that class. There was a range of people there, older people, middle-aged people… okay so I was the youngest there by about 30 years… but the point is, is that I didn’t really feel out of place at all! I got on with the exercises, laughed and smiled with everyone else and just enjoyed taking part in some group exercise.
After that I couldn’t help but look forward to circuit training every week; it was the one time I could let myself go a bit, stop worrying about the little things, and do something that was a positive impact on my health and life. Every week I would go and would be given slightly harder exericises which pushed my limits a little bit further. Slowly but surely, those exercises increased and before I knew it I was attending both circuit training and the gym session on the same day every week! My instructor would also give me great tips for healthy eating, most of which I still keep in mind today!
After a few weeks, I felt more capable and wanted to do some more exericse throughout the rest of the week and so my instructor put together a little exercise plan to do at home. This was a great idea as I could try them out and report back to her the following week to tell her how I was getting on. I also started doing Charlotte Crosby’s 3 Minute Belly Blitz (link is below) in my living room with my best friend – there was probably more giggling involved in that than actual exercise but it was fun and that’s what really counts, right?!
I think the really great thing about Healthy Life was that if I ever had any questions, I had someone right there who was more than willing to help me out and give me advice. She understood my concerns, my goals, my health issues and most of all, gave me the confidence I needed to actually do it! I really couldn’t have asked for a better instructor!
In the next part I will be talking about what Healthy Life lead me onto and what exercise I have been doing since then so keep an eye out!
(Disclaimer: I am in no way saying exercise will help everyone, and I do not recommend anyone starting an exercise regime before consulting their doctor or a qualified instructor)