Exercise changed my life

Photo: Woman with exercise ball
For one member in North Wales, the benefits of exercise from her weekly Pilates class have been obvious.

June Draycott from Colwyn Bay lives with her husband Roy and was diagnosed in 2005. She tells us more about exercise and her MS.

Were you particularly active before your diagnosis?

Roy and I have always enjoyed our walking and when we still lived in Staffordshire we always used to visit North Wales on holidays as a great place to come for walks.

One of the things which upset me when I was diagnosed was the potential of not being able to walk. Were you encouraged to continue to exercise? MS nurses were very good and my neurologist was very good and encouraged all of us to exercise.

What got you interested in the Pilates?

In 2011 I was having weekly physiotherapy at Colwyn Bay hospital, but when it came to an end our physiotherapist suggested we went to the Colwyn Bay Leisure Centre where a Pilates class was just being established in 2011 and I’ve been going ever since. There are between 10 and 15 in the group, we pay £4 for the session and it makes a huge difference.

Is it hard work?

Initially yes, but once you get into the swing of it, it is thoroughly enjoyable. In fact some of us have asked the instructor to push us further over time, but she has to pitch it at the right level for the group.

What benefits have you seen?

I can still walk and that was a big thing for me. Pilates have kept my strength in the legs. It has enabled me to do more outdoor walking, particularly on the beach. Even today I keep up my walking through small sponsored walks. Doing Pilates has helped my core strength.

I would definitely encourage other people to take part.

What are the barriers?

Three new ladies have joined in the last few weeks. At first they were unsure if it was for them, but I encouraged them to watch at first and then take part where they thought they could.

Don’t do it all, do what you can, when you can, little and often. When you can’t do it, sit out. We encourage new people to do it that way, and once you’ve been once, people tend to come back.

Our Pilates instructor has been trained in MS specifically, so she knows how to pitch the activities.

What is the link between physiotherapy and Pilates?

The MS physiotherapist visits once a month to keep us in check and she has taught Angie Masterson, our instructor. It’s a great way of keeping ourselves fit and mobile without needing hospital physiotherapy. I’d recommend it to anyone.

> Try exercises for MS symptoms