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    You are here : Home » Get Involved » MSRC Interactive » Help, Advice and Inspiration from people with MS » What Has Helped You » Exercise » Personal Trainer

    Personal Trainer

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    Further Information

     The National Register of Personal Trainers (01225 353555) can find you a local PT from their list.

    However, not all trainers belong to this organization.

    Alternatively, you could enquire at your local gym.

    Cost : About £30 per hour outside London; more in London.

    Tessa Buckley - Exercising at home with a personal trainer

    When Personal Trainers first appeared on the scene a few years ago, I never thought I'd use one myself. After all, Personal Trainers are for the fit, healthy and able-bodied, right?

    Wrong! As I've recently discovered, anyone with a genuine desire to increase their fitness, and the self-discipline to follow an exercise programme, can benefit from one.

    Over the years, physiotherapists had all assumed I couldn't do anything but the simplest, least energetic of exercises. But after doing three and a half years of weight training, I'm quite strong. And, if I pace myself, I have a fair amount of energy. So I felt I could do more. When my husband Gwyn started using a Personal Trainer called Steve Bickerton, and I asked him if he thought he could help me.

    He agreed immediately; I think he probably saw me as a challenge!

    First, we agreed a set of goals:

    • Improve my walking.
    • Get rid of my fat tummy.
    • To keep my heart healthy and help prevent osteoporosis.
    • To improve the circulation to my feet.
    I had to explain in detail how MS affects me: for instance, how quickly I tire and where I get pain.

    Steve tested my reflexes, the degree of mobility in my arms and legs, and my blood pressure. He also explained how unused muscles contract, and how all muscles have 'memory', which means that, as long as demyelination is not too severe, you may be able to re-learn lost movements.

    I didn't need expensive equipment - Steve devised an amazing variety of exercises using just a ball and a couple of dining room chairs.

    At first, I exercised each part of my body in turn; for instance, I rested my legs while I exercised my arms. That way I didn't get too tired.

    After a few sessions, when I'd developed more stamina, Steve tried the opposite approach - making my legs very tired, and then forcing me to walk. He said this might 'trick' my muscles into responding, and it did. I always walk better after exercise sessions.

    One thing I really enjoy is when I put on boxing gloves and do some punching! Wonderful for releasing pent-up emotion, and a great way of raising your heartbeat.

    Tessa Buckley working with her personal trainer Steve Bickerton

    Tessa Buckley boxing with her personal trainer Steve Bickerton

    I also enjoy 'playing football' up and down our hall! And if I have any aches or pains at the end of the session, Steve massages them all away. The benefits so far are:

    • I'm walking better. This has reduced the pain in my hip joints, which no longer feels 'dislocated'.
    • Increased stamina.
    • I have fewer and less severe attacks of migraine.
    • I am generally fitter.
    • Torso strength has improved (flatter tummy).
    • Slightly better circulation to feet.
    Steve comes once a week for an hour. I also do exercises he has set for me twice a week - around 45 minutes each session.

    I've heard that personal trainers may become available on the NHS, so I'm going to see my doctor about this.

    Steve has become so enthusiastic about the improvements in Tessa that he would like to work more with people with MS. Steve Bickerton: 07767-324694 (Basildon, Essex.)  

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