Back at the gym at last!

I had my first session with my physio in the gym yesterday after a year of absence. To say I'm excited is an understatement!  She went through each machine and showed me what machines to use and how to use them properly (emphasis on the word 'properly' as this is how I ended up injuring myself to start with!) More importantly she showed me which machines I should leave well alone. She has given me a small programme to do which she did with me yesterday which will gently ease me back into health and strengthen my back. I have been handed over to a personal trainer now for the next 6 wks and then have another appointment to check all is still well with my back before she signs me off.  

When I got back in my car, I was quite emotional and shed a few tears as this last year has been a hard journey and one I thought at times would never end. For those who don't know, I had a stroke in 2017 after going to the gym. I was allowed back at the gym after 3 months and was back to my usual routine until last September when I had just come off the leg press and went onto the bike and something snapped at the back of my non-stroke leg. Morning after my right leg was numb and I have been dragging this numb leg around for the last 12 months which has also had an impact on my stroke leg overcompensating.

After 2 MRI scans, nerve conduction study, 2 lots of physio where they didn't know what was wrong with me, I finally found a private physio who diagnosed disc protusion in my back which is irritating my sciatic nerve when sitting. Damage done by incorrect use of the leg press.  I have been having private physio since June and have now joined the rehabilitation gym where she is based.

It felt good to be back on the machines again and boy, do I ache this morning but it's a good ache and no more numbness. So another goal ticked off and my next goal is to shed the extra stone I've put on during this year!

Well done you! Physical exercise is very important post stroke as stroke weakens or wastes muscles. Taking that first step is the most important one and then you have to keep at it. I have been doing my Seniors exercise class for over two years now. Yesterday, a fellow exerciser told me I’d improved no end since my first day with the group.

Mark, our trainer, is great as he has one row of chairs for those who can only do seated exercise and encourages us to use the back of a chair for balance and to just do arm or leg movements is we want to. Usually, I do legs as my brain still doesn’t like thinking about arms and legs together.

You seem to have made much progress since first coming on this forum. Keep up the good work.

Thank you for the post. I am trying to muddle through an exercise regime to get me moving better. Your experiences shared are a help. I think a problem is that we can not throw off the idea of what we did pre stroke. So I have to slow down all the time. And I still manage to pull muscles and worse. We do need supervision dont we. Your course sounds a good idea. But only enabled by having private medical care. That says a lot.


Hi Colin - The physio was private but not the gym. Luckily I am in the Hospital Fund (now Simply Health) so I get half of all physio up to the value of £600 and I'm nowhere near that target yet thankfully.  My gym is £26 a month payable by direct debit.  It's a bit more expensive than a normal gym (my old gym was £19.99) but it's worth the extra a month to have a trainer watching and helping you on the way rather than being left to your own devices. The fact that is a rehab gym dealing with people with all different disabilities including stroke patients, it's speciality is spinal injuries,  they are a necessity really whereas at the other gym, no-one was ever around to watch you as they were mainly on reception talking or playing on their phones.  I remember when I had my stroke and cancelled the membership, my husband went down and the girl didn't know what a stroke was so it says it all really:)

The gym is open to anyone and there are quite a few rehab gyms around in my area. Have you one in your area you could go to? Or maybe a class in your local Sports Centre?  Half of my problem was knowing which exercies NOT to do to aggrevate things we all get as we get older :(   It's rubbish this old age lark!

It's great when people notice how far you have come - makes it all worthwhile and all the more determined. Talking about arms and legs together, she gave me a long rubber resistance band yesterday. A simple exercise involving standing on the rubber band and bringing it up to your chest, then out in front of you and lifted up above the head. 3 steps - simples!   Nah!  no chance.  We had to break it down into 3 stages before brain, legs and arms finally got the message blush but we had a good laugh about it.

Well done, you should be so proud of yourself..  You have shown great determination, spirit and strength of character to make the progress that you have made.

Take your time and enjoy the Gym again and you will no doubt make continued progress...  

Take care and remember to keep smiling .. 

Darren xx


Thanks Darren. Hope you are feeling good too. It is good to be back and I didn't realise how unfit I'd become either!  The oldest person that uses our gym is 83 and he has been coming for 10 years so he is defintiely an inspiration for all of us!  Take care xx

HI. everbody this is my first post prompted by the word gym . I had a stroke 20 months ago which left me weak on the left side ,so had to learn how to walk and use my left arm and fingers. I have made good progress since. I Started going to the gym after it being recommend by my physio to strenghten my left side which it has with great success apart from a set back from a cold  shoulder. What I have found however is that although I go to the gym ever other day and have developed muscle it does not equate to strength. There still seems that lazy feel and lack of drive.  Any one else any experience of this. Still got my fog and fatigue.