"I first came to Thistle in early 2019, I was waiting for a hip replacement and looking for somewhere I could exercise safely before and after the operation. My GP recommended I try Thistle. I spoke to one of the practitioners, who told me about supervised exercise sessions at the Thistle Gym – where there would always be someone making sure I was exercising in a way that worked for me.
I joined Chris’ supervised exercise classes and actually found them quite relaxing! I didn’t have to worry about doing the wrong thing as she was there to keep me right. It built my confidence up. Over time my fitness improved and I lost weight.
I hadn’t expect to get involved with anything other than the Gym, but I found myself spending more and more time at the Thistle Centre. I’d go to the Gym and stay for a chat with people afterwards. Everyone was really welcoming and I became good friends with people I met there.
I was even involved in fundraising for a new treadmill, along with some of the volunteers – we called ourselves the Four Muskateers! It was great seeing the fundraising total going up each week.
In May I had my operation. Although I couldn’t exercise for 6 weeks, I still went in to the Centre for a coffee and a blether. And once I was able to I joined the seated exercise and Tai Chi classes and started going to the Gym again.
Thistle supported me to change my life. I’ve been able to maintain my mobility, get stronger and can manage my pain better. I’ve regained my confidence and am more independent again. It’s somewhere I can go and really enjoy myself. I try to make people feel the way I did when I first came to Thistle - I’ve become that friendly face for new people coming in.
Before lockdown I attended Thistle most days. I’m keeping myself busy while the Centre is closed – one of the volunteers gave me a printed sheet of seated exercises, which I do Monday-Thursday. I take Friday off. And I’ve my Hut out in the back garden where I go to tinker and make things. But I’m looking forward to getting back to classes at Thistle and seeing everyone again."