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5 frequently asked questions when starting exercise with a health condition

As we move into to September and the kids are back to school after the long summer holiday, it seems like time for a fresh start.

This also applies to exercise. August was the time to rest, go on holiday or just have a break. But now is the time to get moving again and improve your fitness. Of course, that’s fine if you’re happy to join your local gym and just get going, but if you have a health issue it’s not nearly so easy.

Exercise is incredibly useful for people with health issues but there are worries and hurdles regarding exercise and in this blog I will explain what these might be and how you can overcome them.

Here are the questions I get asked most frequently when someone is starting exercise for the first time or starting up again after a long time.

1. I can just about get onto the floor but will never be able to get back up again; will this stop me from attending a low impact class?

We do have clients that get down on the floor but this by no means it's compulsory. We have a combination of seated, standing and lying down exercise and you do what you can manage. Everyone works at their own pace and level and once you’re exercising, getting on the floor might well become an option for you. There is no judgement in our classes, and we will always encourage you to do the best you can.

2. Are the classes big? I can get quite nervous and anxious, and I found classes I attended in the past quite intimating.

The class will have no more than 8 -10 people. I keep it that small on purpose so I can keep an eye out for everyone in the class. Here at 1st Step we completely understand anxiety. You will be surprised how many people feel anxious about starting a class and then about actually having to exercise on top of that. We have worked hard to make sure each class is a safe environment for you to grow at your own pace.

You will not be expected to know everything on your arrival into the 1st Step community and we will build you up gradually. There is zero pressure in the classes. Remember, everyone in your class has likely been in the same place as you before and the understanding is there, whether you say anything about it or not.

3. Some days I have an abundance of energy and other days I cannot seem to get going. How do I work around this?

This is the beauty of what 1st Step offers. We understand you will have your good days and your off days. We have an array of classes throughout the week. These can be morning, afternoon and evening (either online or face to face).

You purchase one class a week (or more if you want) and attend any time in the week. So if you’re having an off day you can join later in the week. This allows you to stay committed and be mindful of the condition you have. Even if you’re having an off day, it can be good to come along and just do what you can. Simply being surrounded by other likeminded people can cheer you up by the end of the session, even if you have done less in that class than you would do normally.

4. I have never done a class online. Does it work and how do you know if I am doing the exercises correctly?

This is a very good question that has been asked time and again since we took classes online. If I am honest, I had my doubts when the first lockdown happened, but I didn’t need to.

My exercise programmes are designed so that you don’t have to move away from the camera much, nor do you need lots of weights. Just you, and a chair if needed. We have enough experience now to know if the exercise is being done correctly and if you are managing well.

Even some of my local clients have chosen to stay online because they are in the comfort of their own home, they can log on a few minutes before and be at home when they finish. When you have a health issue or some motivational issues, NOT having to drive to class removes that hurdle altogether and it make the class more accessible. We have still managed to build a fantastic community online and since restrictions have lifted most of our client’s do a combination of both face to face and online!

5. How much do you know about health issues and what type of conditions do you help?

I have an extensive background working with health issues and exercise. I have a degree in Sport and Exercise Science and spent a placement year working with heart and lung patients.

After graduating I spent 10 years in the NHS as a therapy assistant working with an array of conditions on a daily basis. My last few years in the NHS were in A&E. To add to that, I have been running my own business now for over 3 years working with clients with a wide variety of health issues.

The conditions I help are, Parkinson’s, arthritis (in its various forms and in any joint), EDS, fibromyalgia, Functional Neurological Disorder (FND), strokes, neuropathy, heart issues such as AF and lung issues such as COPD and asthma, sciatica and many more. I also have clients who have injuries or very low fitness as well, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Every single client has succeeded in achieving their own goals and continue to do so.

To find out more about how 1st Step can help you get exercising with a health condition, please contact us or 07846597460 and we will be happy to help.

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