Real stories from real people

Denise’s Story

I joined as member of Zest at Stokesley in July 2018. Unfortunately, in August 2018, I suffered a pulmonary embolism, and within 24 hours of that, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had major surgery in November 2018, and have been slowly recovering since.

I started back at Stokesley in January this year, with steady walking on the treadmill. I wasn’t able to do any weight bearing exercises or anything that would put a strain on my abdomen. I decided to take up swimming in order to do more gentle exercise, but then I hurt my back by lifting quite a heavy object! This really set my fitness regime back quite considerably.

I then heard about the Toning Suite at Northallerton Leisure Centre. I joined 3 weeks ago, and it has revolutionised my life! All of my body is being gently mobilised. I feel stronger, less aches and pains, my abdomen is getting stronger, it’s absolutely marvellous.

Prior to my joining the Toning Suite I was becoming quite concerned about my mobility, as getting in and out of the car was becoming an ordeal. Everyday tasks and even doing my job at the local library was becoming increasingly difficult.

After attending the Toning Suite almost religiously, every day, I felt I was ready to take the next step towards my fitness.

Before committing to a gym membership, to replace my Toning Suite membership, I was offered a Free Day Pass. This was just what I needed, as I had more or less lost all confidence in my ability to use a gym. However I was shown around the gym by a helpful instructor, and then left to use the  equipment. No pressure and no expectation.

After using the cardio and resistance machines, I knew I was ready to make the transition from Toning Suite, where I had regained my mobility and banished my aches and pains, and stopped further muscle wasting (from my previous surgery), to the gym.

The supportive attitudes of the staff in both the Toning Suite and in the gym have greatly helped my confidence and return to exercise. I know that without the Toning Suite, and my dogged determination to attend as often as possible ( I think I missed 2 days out of 7 weeks), then I would not be at the gym now, undertaking a fairly rigorous (for me) training programme.

It’s also ironic that at the time of writing this second part of my Zest journey, I have reached the 1 Year anniversary of my surgery. This time last year I would never have thought it possible to be exercising as much as I am doing ( I attend at least 5 days a week), nor would have I thought it possible that I could use the equipment I am using.

It’s just amazing, and I am incredibly grateful to Zest Northallerton for being the sort of environment I actually want to visit nearly every day ( work prevents my attending every day!). The staff are an excellent asset to Zest Northallerton, and the venue facilities are exceptional, and well worth that half hour journey to get there.

By way of a progress report, I can get in and out of the car with ease, and able to stand upright without feeling like my body is resisting an upright posture.

I can stand from a crouching position with great ease, as I have increased the strength in my legs, core, and back.

I can arch my back around a Swiss ball! Something that would have seemed impossible up until a couple of months ago. I am also achieving crunches using the Swiss ball ( I have a Swiss ball in my Xmas list!).

I have gained a lot of upper body strength, and my heart rate has reduced to a less alarming level!

I generally feel fitter and healthier. I have been given a programme of fitness which includes a calorie goal. Obviously after many months of not a lot of exercise, and being told to increase my weight (following a 3 stone loss due to cancer), my weight has increased a bit too much! So I’m now trying hard to get all that under control together with increasing fitness level.

Zest Northallerton is a big part of my life. I don’t see it being a hobby, or a passing fad ( previously I have been guilty of joining gyms but rarely visiting). It’s a crucial part of my life, and with the exception of work, it takes priority.

Thank you Zest!


If you’ve been inspired by Denise then you can get started this month with 2 months FREE.