My Multiple Sclerosis & Fitness
 

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You can see my fundraising progress so far, and donate safely here.

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The MS Society

In 2003, five years after my Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, the increasing physical difficulties that come from living with the condition were becoming more obvious.  I was getting markedly weaker and my balance was non-existent.  I wasn't constantly drunk - I just walked like I was!  Apart from that there weren't any “visible symptoms” and if I was seen sitting on a bus no-one would know the fatigue, visual problems and PAIN that I was experiencing most of the time.

That year I joined a gym, not for my own benefit as I thought my home routine was sufficient, but because I was concerned for the state of my family; and so to encourage ourselves we all became members.  However, despite my less than sedentary lifestyle at home, I soon began to notice the benefits of my membership. 

I've had some personal training with the instructors and have learned which machines can benefit and improve - as much as is possible - the strength in my body.  Even my knee, which has been particularly problematic because of MS, has improved with some specific exercises.

I’m now addicted to my yoga classes and wish I had been attending the Pilates classes for longer.  The increased core stability has made a huge difference to my life, together with a general increase in strength and stamina.  Okay I do still have problems but they are so much more manageable.

I have now been prescribed medication and must rattle when I walk but I KNOW that the fitness routine is a critical part of my multiple sclerosis symptom management.

As well as the gym and classes, I also have my own “mini-routine”.  I use a gym ball to squat and improve leg strength, then I sit on it and use weights to prevent the formation of underarm wings, and I do sit-ups on the ball to try to get rid of the evidence that I have had two wonderful children, Tabitha (now 17) and Rebecca (now 12).

I have been doing work for charity since before my multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 1998, but I have been more inspired since then.  It's not just about raising money but also about raising awareness of the different illnesses and diseases that people in the community deal with on a day-to-day basis.

I hope my achievements have encouraged others to make the best of the health that they have.  I will shortly be completing a Fitness qualification.  Unfortunately it was interrupted due to an injury and then with my acceptance of a place in the London Marathon 2007.  However, I do hope to continue after, and also take it further with the gym instructor qualification, and then perhaps by becoming a Pilates teacher.  Yoga is also important to me, so maybe one day that too.  I was recently surprised to discover that Theresea Dent, my instructor at CETS, has nominated me for "Pro Active Sports Learners Award 2007".

BUT, as important to me as any of the physical gains, I have now made so many genuine new friends who accept me for the eccentric that I am, and make time at and outside the gym a real pleasure.  THANK YOU for all the friendships that I would not have had without you.

In the press:

"Karen won’t let MS stop her finishing marathon", Croydon Guardian, 4th April 2007

"MS sufferer Karen is running the London Marathon", Croydon Advertiser, 29th Dec 2006

"Pull yourself together", Chat magazine, 8th May 2003

"On Your Marx, Get Set", News Shopper, 30th Apr 2003

"Mum Karen forgets her illness to help buy ambulance", Croydon Post, 18th Aug 1999