Anna Martin, 39, personal trainer & Clubbercise Master Trainer, says:
I have S-curve scoliosis (2 x 45 degrees) and exercise has changed my life. Without it, I would still be taking painkillers on a daily basis.
Here are my 5 tips for exercising safely with a health condition:
1 – Learning to adapt. Some weeks you'll feel amazing and be able to train like a ninja, other weeks you'll have to dial it back. As you learn more about your body & exercise in general, your adaptability (and confidence) will skyrocket. Take it slowly, noting which movements trigger pain/discomfort and don't be afraid to stick with movements that improve your confidence. Confidence is half of our battle.
2 – Noticing your instructor's 'layers' – when we teach Clubbercise, we always offer a lower impact/slower alternative before we offer the high-impact moves. This is standard across the majority of group exercise classes and it ensures that class participants can do most of the same moves altogether..... but at the level each person is most comfortable at. Keep your eyes open for the movements that fit best with your body and carry on with what feels right for you, your instructor just wants you to have a great time and an effective workout, they will not mind if you stay low impact!
3 – Don't get cross with yourself – I've been there, sitting in the car crying after a workout because I couldn't do what I wanted to do. It can be frustrating as hell. The flipside is that sticking with it and learning to appreciate your body for what it CAN do will be one of the most rewarding things you've ever done. The feeling when you manage to do something new for the first time is life-changing and you will appreciate it so much more than someone who hasn't faced your challenges.
4 – Don't compare yourself – Yep, I know, the person next to you is doing the most impressive squat clean the world has ever seen. That might never be you, real talk, but there will be so many other cool things you CAN do that will leave you wanting to pat yourself on the back on the way to the changing room. You are awesome, exactly the way you are.
5 – Ask a professional – It goes without saying that you will be consistent with your physio/rehab. After physio, the best thing I ever did was to invest in a knowledgeable personal trainer. He was the first person who opened my eyes to what I was truly capable of, by working around my back and helping me to be patient with myself. With patience comes understanding and that understanding will allow you to be more dedicated and consistent, despite whatever injuries or conditions you are facing.