My first meeting back in October 2018 was with Michael Freeman. Having been given the news that due to my chronic arthritic pain I could no longer continue at my gym of choice where I really enjoyed my Zumba classes, I was quite upset. I really couldn’t see how this back room in Yuille street with a few bits of gear was ever going to measure up to the gym I used to enjoy. Frankly, I resented the fact that I was in some way ‘disabled’ by my pain and had to resort to this. 

Michael was gentle and kind and talked with me about the fact that even though it is painful, careful monitored movement and active management of my pain would help me feel less debilitated. He explained that being a physiologist meant that he had been trained to help people with chronic pain issues, where as a gym instructor would focus on just fitness. He talked about a book “How to manage your pain” which I have purchased and read. 

Statistics state that 40% of people who suffer chronic pain suffer from anxiety and depression and perhaps I was heading this way myself; perhaps many of your clients are already suffering with this. 

Still pretty angry with my predicament, I started the weekly group exercise classes. It took perhaps a couple of months for me to really get over myself and start to appreciate that the exercises were actually of great benefit to me, despite the continued pain. Most of the exercises are tailored to different levels of ability, so there is no obligation to try and force yourself to work harder than you’re able, I really appreciate this. Being informed about what areas of the body each exercise is strengthening or helping is also encouraging.  

With the guidance of Michael and the other lovely physiologists who run the classes I have been involved in, I have a glimmer of hope that I can manage my pain, continue to exercise and perhaps become healthier and happier. While I cannot manage to get back to Zumba, I did have a go at doing some dancing classes and found that I could manage the pain and really enjoy myself once again. If it wasn’t for the group exercise classes I don’t think I would have been attempted the dance classes at all.

So in conclusion, I have to say that your team do a great job keeping us upbeat while we’re potentially in a lot of pain, perhaps even angry or depressed. You all keep us going when we really probably want to toss it in at times. It is amazing that all the physiologists manage to remember everyones names and what they’re up to; striking up conversations to see how each of us is going all while keeping an eye on how we’re coping with the exercises. Personally I’m very grateful, so thank you all.

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