I joined Planet Health Club in Cork when it opened about 10 years ago. Every year when my renewal date approaches I have to do a cost/benefit analysis and each year I realise that the benefits far outweigh the cost.
For those of you who don’t know me I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis since 1988. MS is a neurodegenerative disease whose progression is usually slow. I am a case in point and 27 years later I’m still getting around, albeit more slowly. Planet Health Club has been an important part of my life for the last 10 years. The club is well populated with endurance and resistance training equipment and some of the equipment is wheelchair accessible. There is also a separate free-weights area. The pool is not large but is easily accessible by steps and not those dreaded ladders. I feel it is important to mention the pool accessibility because sometimes pool exercising is the only option open to people with disabilities.
This article is to say thanks to all the staff in the gym for putting up with me for the last 10 years; but a very special thank you goes to Chris Price for designing a plan to improve my upper body strength. I wanted help to improve my independence in my wheelchair and not be relying on Jean for the longer trips. Chris’ program was a resounding success and recently on a holiday in Spain I wheeled myself to our favourite coffee shop (Miel, Sabinillas) and back again without Jean having to lay a hand on the wheelchair. The distance is about 1 ½ Km each way and the feeling of such an achievement was epic. Thanks a million Chris.
This blog is about more than Planet Health Club. It is clarion call to all of you who don’t use a gym or retain their fitness in some other way. If I could offer you one bit of advice for the future it would be to retain a level of fitness and mobility commensurate with your ability. Use it or lose it. Improvements won’t be visible immediately. It will take time but the effort will be worth it. This is one area where the return is greater than the investment; you get out more than you put in and commitment is the only essential ingredient.