‘An absolute godsend’: The Norwich exercise classes helping people with MS and Parkinson’s to stand

Sarah Clements does a walking exercise with help from Karen Simpson, therapy assistant, at the Maint

Sarah Clements does a walking exercise with help from Karen Simpson, therapy assistant, at the MaintainUs exercise group. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

For some people with disabilities, keeping active can be a struggle.

Sue Clissold is put through some exercises by Wendy Hendrie, MS specialist physiotherapist. Picture:

Sue Clissold is put through some exercises by Wendy Hendrie, MS specialist physiotherapist. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Now a gym and exercise classes are available to help those who have neurological conditions to keep active.

MaintainUs is a weekly exercise group based at the Multiple Sclerosis Centre in Norwich.

It has a gym with specialist equipment and experienced staff that allows people with neurological conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), to work out and maintain their standing ability.

The exercise machines are specially designed for people with disabilities to strengthen muscles affected by their condition.

Some of the group on exercise cycles, with expert help from Karen Simpson, right, therapy assistant,

Some of the group on exercise cycles, with expert help from Karen Simpson, right, therapy assistant, at the MaintainUs exercise group. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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Sarah Clements, 36, from Banningham has Friedreich-ataxia which affects her balance and coordination.

Miss Clements said: 'Being able to exercise in a safe environment is a really good thing, with people that are on hand to help you and everyone here is really friendly.'

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Miss Clements uses a walker to get around but at the gym is able to use a Oswestry Standing Frame which allows her to stand, strengthening her legs and back.

'No one had ever mentioned an exercise class like this to me before and it has really helped me with walking and if people use a wheel chair, it's a release to stand up.'

Sue Clissold, 64, is wheelchair bound and registered blind. She lives mostly alone and said she enjoyed the class for the social aspects. She said: 'I can't leave my house so when I come up here the people are all talking and chatting as they are exercising.

'It's a sociable thing because I know I have a goal I'm aiming for, to get back standing. To be able to come here is an absolute godsend.'

Physiotherapy assistants Karen Simpson and Jacquie Wright are on hand to help gym goers alongside physiotherapists Wendy Hendrie and Rachel Hardy with a range of exercise and yoga classes.

Wendy Hendrie is an MS specialist with 35 years' experience. She said: 'Most of the general population aren't doing enough activity, so it's even harder for people with disabilities. We are opening our doors to people with Parkinson's, who have had strokes, any spinal injury or any neurological condition.'

MaintainUs runs every Wednesday and Thursday at the MS Therapy Centre. For more information call 01603 485933.

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