My name is Bernadette and I live in Camberley. I have two sons aged 34 and 36 years and three grandsons aged 2, 6 and 8 years. The usual classes I attend are Tuesday Zumba Gold at Heatherside and Wednesday evening Fitsteps at Frimley Community Centre. However I love the flexibility Sveta offers during her weekly programme enabling us to attend any classes that fit in with our schedule.
I have exercised as far back as I can remember ranging from yoga, pilates, aerobics, stretching and toning – sometimes attending classes but more often using dvd’s or music. I have also been very aware of eating a balanced diet for health and fitness as well as maintaining the correct weight for my height.
So I was shocked when in 1993 I became ill with viral thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid) after which I developed M.E (myalgic encephalomyelitis). This is a very debilitating illness which manifests in many different ways with wide ranging symptoms. Unfortunately there is no known reason why it develops nor is there a cure. From 1993 until 2003 I was in a lot of pain, had very limited energy levels and suffered from endless migraines. On some days I could hardly walk and life was very much ‘on hold’.
On improved days I would walk to the nearest post box (sometimes with an empty envelope just to feel I had a mission), but it was often one step forward and two steps back. I certainly wasn’t making continuous progress. Any gentle exercising I could do was alone, and always dependant upon how I was feeling.
Medical advice was not to overdo things and pace myself by doing 20 minutes activity followed by 2 hours of rest. Having been very active previously this was extremely frustrating. However I began to make some progress by 2002 and joined an exercise class. Within 2 years I consistently improved and at last I began to plan and attend social events.
Finally life was returning to normal and I began to feel part of the real world again. I was so happy that I could exercise regularly again and I did not feel nor look exhausted and washed out.
My energy levels increased significantly during the following years and my fitness improved to such a degree that I became ready for a higher level of activity. This was apparent at the exercise classes that I attended. It was at one of these classes that a friend suggested that I should try a new Zumba Gold class that had recently started at Heatherside Community centre. She had already attended the class and enjoyed it.
So that was when my Dance4ever journey started in October 2014. The music was loud, the lights were flashing and the scene was set for something very different. At the end of the first class I felt exhausted and hot but also quite surprised that burning calories through dance could be so enjoyable. Sveta was a new brand of teacher that I had not encountered before. She was welcoming and genuinely interested to hear how everyone felt about her classes. With her beaming smile and endless enthusiasm I really looked forward to coming to Zumba Gold every week. I spread the word to many friends who also joined one or more of Sveta’s classes.
After the first year of Zumba Gold I also started attending Fitsteps on wednesday evenings. This was a bit more challenging as it is higher impact and lasts for a whole hour. However I feel pleased that I have managed to attend all through the winter and would encourage anyone out there who is thinking about it to have a go. After every exercise class I feel more energized and I do feel that my fitness levels are higher than they have ever been. Also as new routines are introduced I find that I pick them up quicker. That’s got to be good for the brain!
Frimley Hall hotel. This gives us the chance to chat and get to know each other on a social level.