(photo credit –


Well … I’ve made a decision [round of applause, please]. I’ve decided, after living much of my adult life in a wheelchair and needing carers, that I’m going to get myself fit. I’m going to get fit in my city’s main gym – working out – [yes, me, little Ellie, working out – you heard right]. My brilliant idea is that maybe – just maybe – I would be able to manage a bit more independently without having to rely on carers so much.  I am very serious about it, and it would be amazing to achieve this.

Having made this great pledge to myself, I set off for the sports centre for the first time today.  I bought my ticket and a membership card and wheeled through the turnstile, along with an unexpected and very excited party of primary school children who were waiting to go into the pool for their swimming lesson.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I entered the door to the gym. I was wasn’t entirely surprised to find there were a few keen, male bodybuilders and one or two rather muscular, female weightlifters, all of which looked like they had popped a few steroids before they’d come out! However, I wasn’t particularly concerned [‘each to their own’, I thought].

I slid quietly passed them, trying not to look too conspicuous in my pair of blue jeans, a tee-shirt and a purple and white sweatshirt (which I couldn’t get changed out of without the help of a carer who I didn’t have with me). Compared to everyone else in their smart sports gear, I did, indeed, look conspicuous. I pulled off the sweater and bravely bared my arms in a vain attempt to fit the image a little more. I failed, miserably, but was nevertheless determined to get started – onwards and upwards!

One of the instructors met me a few minutes later, and having assessed me gave me a print out of the exercises I needed to do. I was keen to begin my workout. I didn’t know the names of half the equipment, but I managed to locate the weights and thought I’d start with them. I picked up the 2 kg dumbbell, and my arm plummeted towards the gym floor … I’d better start with a lighter one, I decided, and then chose the ½ kg weight. That was better although I felt a bit pathetic attempting to raise my arm above my head with what looked like a pencil with two blunt ends. I managed two lots of ten lifts with each arm altogether which was a fair start.

I gradually worked my way through my programme and finished after an hour, feeling suitably proud of myself. I felt really good and had thoroughly enjoyed it. I refilled my water bottle, went out into the caféteria area and treated myself to a vitamin-packed mango, spinach, kale and celery smoothie which was delicious despite the fact that it looked the same colour and consistency of the green sludge that floats across the top of my garden pond from time-to-time. Trust me … it was lovely.

I eagerly finished that up and left the sports centre absolutely buzzing with endorphins, and now, I can’t wait to go again on Tuesday. I’m so excited by the prospect of possibly being able to manage with less care, so achieving more independence. The sun was shining, warm on my back on the journey home and I must have looked a bit daft as I wheeled along with a smile on my face like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland!

woman in wheelchair exercise equipment

(photo credit –






15 thoughts on “WORKING OUT

  1. What a great idea, Ellie! I’m glad you had a good experience with your first visit to the gym. I love your description of the ½ kg dumbbell as a pencil with two blunt ends. Don’t worry. They may have started you off with an HB, but I’m sure you’ll be lifting 2Bs and 4Bs in no time. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, Bun – you always have such a lovely sense of humour 🙂 I absolutely loved it there. I ought to get some practice in at home in between visits to the gym but I haven’t got any weights yet so I’m going to have to make do with a can of cream soda and a tin of baked beans out of my kitchen cupboard x

    1. Thanks, Mick. Yes, it was a bit scary to start with but once that adrenaline began to pump round my body, I soon gained my confidence and there was no stopping me then! x

    1. Thanks, Ann. I am feeling very determined. Once I get into the swing of it, I’ll hopefully have some sort of routine to ensure that I go regularly. I’m fortunate that the gym gives me a lot of guidance when it comes down to which machine or weight to use when and how long for. In both work and play, I tend to really throw myself into it with everything I’ve got (at least that is, to begin with!) 🙂

    1. I’m so sorry for the lateness of my reply, Agness. – for some reason you ended up in my Junk box! Anyway, I’m pleased to say that you’re here now, thank you for popping into my blog and thank you very much for your comment – that’s very kind of you 🙂

  2. I really admire you ellie! working out isnt easy at the best of times, twice as hard in a wheelchair, what equipment did you use? I like the gym but memberships are so expensive. I only have a treadmill at home. I use it as much as I can. But I do think it would be better if i could go to a gym. Maybe I will do that soon. I would need some extra assistance though if I was to do that. xxx

  3. Thanks for your comment, Carol anne. I enjoy the gym although I have to confess I haven’t been for two or three weeks because of all the being so busy getting my bedroom decorated and planning for my next project. I really must get back there! I’m fortunate with my gym – I don’t have to have a membership but can pay a reduced rate just when I manage to get there – it works out much cheaper that way.

    I use a few different pieces of equipment, mostly to strengthen my upper body, arms and core muscles all of which help me to manoeuvre myself about. I also use weights (dumbbells) – I’m up to 2kg ones now. I keep meaning to do some weight-lifting at home but the only things I can find to use are a couple of baked bean tins! 🙂 xxx

  4. I don’t know you and am just coming across your blog but I miss say it is a pleasure to “meet you”. You are obviously passionate and determined and really… just “good for you”! I always find that getting some exercise makes me feel better. The type of exercise that works for me is yoga because you can do it lying down, sitting down, just the stretching of the deep fascial muscles brings space to the internal organs and skeletal structure and helps me feel better.

    Congrats for getting off to a great start! Impressive.


    1. Hello, Peta,

      Forgive me for not getting back to you sooner (I haven’t checked into WordPress for a couple of days). Thank you for stopping to read my blog – you are very welcome, and your comments are appreciated.

      I think I’ve become determined by having to be in life – I feel that I want to do things myself and not rely on others (other than for love, [as I struggle to love myself as is evident in some of my previous posts], and for friendship which is important too). I feel more in control that way and believe me, control is a ‘biggy’ in my life for many complicated reasons.

      As for exercise, working out at the gym increases my levels of serotonin which makes me feel better. I know that yoga is an excellent form of gentle exercise and would benefit me as I have practised this before, but, I have to admit, it was some years ago. I have also practised meditation in the past (that was Transcendental Meditation), and that was hugely beneficial, and it’s always on my ‘should/ought to do list’ as are many things. However, we can only do what we can do in this life and that ought to be enough – uh-oh, there’s that ‘ought’ word again! Ellie x 🙂

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