MS Active Together: Dom’s story

Personal trainer Dom Thorpe has created a series of workout videos for MS Active Together, our new initiative to encourage people with MS to get active. He tells us how his mum’s MS inspired his career.

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been interested in sports and fitness. About 10 years ago, I decided to turn my passion into a career and become a personal trainer.

I had the opportunity to learn how to train people with disabilities. The idea appealed to me because my mum had MS. I had watched her go from someone who was very physically able, to someone who couldn’t move at all.

I wanted to find out how exercise might have helped her.

Mum’s MS made me feel helpless

Mum had MS for as long as I can remember. At first, it didn’t affect her much. She would mention fatigue, but she didn’t have any visible symptoms.

After I went away to university, I noticed a decline. Mum struggled with balance and walking. I remember her coming to visit me in London. She was wobbling so much as she walked along the Underground platform, I was worried she was going to fall onto the tracks.

Eventually she needed to use a wheelchair all the time. And, after an illness, she wasn’t able to speak or move at all. I felt helpless.

Feeling inspired to help people like mum

Learning how exercise can help people with disabilities was a real eye-opener. It was huge for me to learn what people can do, if you adapt to their needs.

I felt regret that I hadn’t known earlier, in time to help my mum. But it inspired me to help as many other people as I can.

I’ve been working with people with disabilities for about 10 years. At the moment, about half my clients have disabilities, and three or four have MS.

Using diet and exercise to make life better

I worked with one woman who felt really low after being diagnosed with MS. She put on a lot of weight and, because she wasn’t doing any exercise, her muscles became weak. She could hardly walk when we met.

I helped her come up with a healthy eating plan, and introduced some gentle exercise. Over the next four months, she lost a lot of weight, and built up her walking so she could cover five kilometres comfortably. It made her day-to-day life a lot easier.

She had thought her trouble walking was because of her MS, but we found diet and exercise could have a real impact.

Being part of MS Active Together

I’m so excited to be part of MS Active Together. I hope that people follow the workouts and enjoy them.

MS is different for everyone, but everyone can benefit from moving more. It’s about finding the exercise that suits you. Exercise can make you feel fitter and healthier, and it can lift your mood too. Ultimately it can help you continue living a good life for as long as possible.

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