Getting fit can be a struggle sometimes. One of the biggest barriers to working out for people with chronic disease and pain is finding something that doesn’t make them sore. Over the last 5 years I have finally come to the realisation that everyone needs a different fitness programme; what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. Recovering from spinal fusion surgery, learning to live with a back that doesn’t bend and the people I have met through this journey has made me appreciate the pain others go through on a daily basis.

I know that the pain and limitations I have are nothing compared to what others go through but here are my top 3 tips to pushing through and keeping motivated.

1.Start slowly!

Whether it is walking, cycling or simply some stretching to get your body moving and start to understand what hurts and what doesn’t. Go at your own pace and work out what you can and can’t do. Try not to get frustrated at what you can’t do but focus on what you can.

2. Try!

Trying new activities help break up the monotony of exercise and you might discover something not only that you enjoy, but something that doesn’t hurt or in fact helps the pain. Back in 2012 my partner finally convinced me to try Cross Fit. I was sure that I would not be able to do any of the exercises and would end up in intense pain; it was actually one best things I could have done. It helped me build strength, muscle and confidence. Building muscle helped the pain while the new take on exercise led me to realise anything can be modified. I no longer do cross-fit but the experience helped me grow and inspired me to try exercises before ruling them out.

3. Always set some time aside for stretching!

Stretching might be boring but it makes a huge difference to getting back out for the next workout. Stretching is important no matter what level of fitness you are.