My journey and return to good health

My journey and return to good health

By Deena Mary Jones

“In 2003, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and osteoporosis of the lower spine.

“Fast forward to 2017, I’d had three falls on my knee, due to the osteoarthritis. Even walking with crutches the pain was excruciating as it was bone to bone.

“I had physiotherapy followed by six months of cortisone injections in my knee, which helped ease the pain and with walking. I was told it wouldn’t get better and was referred to the surgeon for a possible knee replacement operation.

“MRI scans and X-Ray confirmed advancement of the 2003 diagnosis. It was then in 2018 my GP referred me to BH Live for its Exercise Referral programme.

“I visited Mountbatten Leisure Centre and was greeted by health and fitness advisor, Emma George. She assessed, evaluated and set up my training programme.

“We started with a medical history and Emma recorded my weight, height, pulse and blood pressure. She also assessed my capabilities and how my symptoms could be gradually improved. I was toured around the facilities and the equipment in the gym; and was shown a short list of specialised exercises.

“Although the programme was unique to me and my condition, it was quite a challenge for me to start the regime and maintain it weekly with my knee grinding away. The first and second week was the most painful and difficult. But, after time it got better, I was beginning to feel the benefits of all the hard work and enjoyed being there week-on-week improving and achieving.

“Initially, my balance was poor. But careful coaching and access to different equipment helped me work on this. This led to a healthy improvement of daily living activities, well, most of them.

“Emma had been monitoring my progress throughout and re-assessing my medical condition too, which was improving. I increased my exercise times on a range of equipment include rowers, treadmills and exercise bikes. I was even using an exercise bike at home that I had bought from the Cats Rescue Charity shop – many thanks to the donor if you read this!

“After the three months were up, I continued going to the classes including Aqua Fit, Pilates, Yogalates and Yoga three to four times a week, as well as warming up in the gym. I found the classes restored and maintained my physical and mental health.

“After my exercise I like to visit the sauna, steam room, hot tub and showers for a wonderful, relaxing and healing time – I find it to be a great way to ease any aching muscles and mind. I also enjoy staying on for lunch in the Terrace café. After I’m pleasantly full and relaxed, I’m homeward bound feeling so much better.

“With the help of a personalised 1-2-1 fitness programme with an instructor plus the classes, I am delighted that no surgical intervention has been required, although it might be necessary one day in the future should my condition no longer be relieved by my exercise regime.

“My fitness levels have been restored to what they were 45 years ago (well almost, considering my age). Only this time, over the last decade I’ve successfully stopped the most difficult habit of all time, smoking.

“I am so glad I joined BH Live. My confidence and balance has improved so that I no longer require a walking stick or analgesia, unless I need a bus. I still do use an anti-inflammatory gel but this is after exercise only. Now there’s not enough hours in the week to follow all the pastimes I would love to do including photography, art and garden.

“I have many people to thank. Firstly to the GP for referring me to the centre. Secondly to Emma at Mountbatten Leisure Centre for being there from the beginning, motivating me to continue with such cheerfulness. As well as other class instructors from both Mountbatten and Pyramids Centre who have provided appropriate advice, motivation and encouragement.

“Last, but certainly not least, to my immediate family for helping me to come to Southsea for good health, I sincerely wish you all have that too.

“Keep up the good work. And lastly, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

If you have been inspired by Deena’s journey and would like to find out how exercise could benefit you, contact 02393 200401 or visit bhliveactive.org.uk for details.