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From Zumba to 10k… The diary of a non-running Dance Fitness Instructor

From Zumba to 10k… The diary of a non-running Dance Fitness Instructor

Having worked for Bannatyne for 20 years this year, I decided I needed a new challenge. My 73 year old father and my 16 year old son, both Bannatyne members and keen runners, thought it would be a great idea to sign me up for a local 10k run in September.

“No problem” I said! You’d think after teaching 20+ classes a week for so many years running would be a doddle! So, thinking I was clever, I went to the gym with my MYZONE belt in place & on the treadmill I went…

Teaching back-to-back Step, Aerobics, Zumba, Tap and Aqua classes goes some way to preparing your legs and increasing your stamina level. But there’s nothing quite like the feeling of your lungs burning as you realise you’ve only done 5 minutes, your heart rate is in the red-zone and your legs are about to buckle! Looking around just to make sure no one has recognised me, I bring the speed down to a brisk walk & remember the many times over the years the advice I’ve given countless members…

  • Start easy - try a brisk walk on a slight incline for as long as you feel comfortable.

  • Build up slowly - try increasing your time each week by a few minutes until you can comfortably walk for around 30 minutes. Start increasing the speed to a gentle jog for a couple of minutes before returning to a brisk walk.

  • Mix it up - a mixture of cardio & strength exercises to work the whole body & don’t forget your core, essential to help control your breathing.

Wise words…

With my heart rate back in the green, I set off again and managed to complete a 3k session without falling over, followed by a good stretch on the Powerplate. The Powerplate is a great piece of kit to stretch out those muscles before and after a good workout to help prevent injury. 1st session complete I was feeling quite proud of myself!

Tackling the 5k…

I signed myself up for the local Park Run and off I went with father and son in tow. I completed the run in a fairly respectable 31 minutes with my father by my side pushing me along (my son was long gone, finishing in 27 minutes!). I always knew those little words of encouragement we instructors give our members on a daily basis do actually work!

My next goal was to break 30 minutes so the next Saturday (New Year Eve and my 45th Birthday), off I went again. I only went and did it in 29.37!  All those hours of squats and lunges were paying off and a celebratory glass of fizz was definitely in order! Nothing can stop me now - New Year! New Me…

How life can change in the blink of an eye...

...I left work on the 3rd of January and woke up in hospital on the 4th of January, having suffered a massive seizure in the middle of the night. After numerous tests and scans I was discharged with an appointment to see the neurologist, which was missed due to suffering another seizure. More scans and tests resulted in being diagnosed with epilepsy.

Within the space of a few days I’d gone from being a perfectly healthy independant 45 year old Fitness Instructor to being diagnosed with a life changing condition. After taking nothing other than the occasional painkiller, I was now on medication for what will probably be the rest of my life and had my independance taken away, along with my driving licence.

After briefly feeling sorry for myself, I realised how lucky I was. I had the love and support of all my gorgeous family, friends and work colleagues and I was in the fortunate position of still being able to go to work in a job I loved, teaching all my favourite classes to the great members we have at the club.

And as for my training, suffice to say the daily two mile walk to and from work has done wonders for my stamina! I did my 1st 5k run exactly 2 months to the day of my first seizure and I knocked 39 seconds off my PB!

Onwards and Upwards...

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