Christine is 61 years old and from a large village called Ketton, in the beautiful county of Rutland. Back in January 2000, and at the age of 40, Christine was involved in a horse riding accident which left her with a low thoracic spinal injury.
Prior to her injury Christine was very active and lived on a farm with her partner and children. Caring for horses was Christine’s passion in life and she would ride every day if she could.
After sustaining her injury Christine spent 20 weeks at the Sheffield Spinal Unit, 10 weeks of which was bedrest and a further 10 weeks rehab. “This was quite a short time for rehab really but I was desperate to get back home to be a full-time mum again.”
Since having the accident Christine is now a full-time wheelchair user, but that has not stopped her from being an active person and trying lots of new things.
During her rehabilitation at the Sheffield Spinal Unit she joined other patients as they visited Glasgow for the 2000 hosting of the WheelPower Inter Spinal Unit Games. At this event Christine tried every sport on offer, which really opened her eyes to what there was available and the importance of continued exercise. As she explains, “I wanted to give everything a go, so during the event I tried powerlifting, rugby, basketball, bowls, fencing and tennis!”
“Following on from these initial introductions I really wanted to take up fencing but unfortunately there wasn’t anywhere close to me. So instead I did find some local clubs, where I took up archery and played wheelchair tennis”
On top of these more traditional disability sports Christine continued to discover new opportunities in her local area, which led to her water skiing and sailing. Over the past 10 years sailing has become Christine’s ‘main’ sport and the one that she enjoys the most. As she explains, “When you are on the water your disability disappears and you can compete against able bodied people.”
“I have been lucky enough to race against some of the top disabled sailors in the world down in Weymouth. Alongside my sailing partner David Durston I raced in a Scud 18 on open water within the harbour for a place at the 2012 Paralympics Games in London. We didn’t make it but it was a fantastic experience and one I will never forget.”
Unfortunately, in 2019 Christine spent most of the year on bedrest due to a reoccurring skin wound injury. After being so active prior to this operation this was a really difficult time as she was unable to exercise. She is now recovering well and had been looking forward to 2020, and a return to the sports and activities she loves, but then the Covid-19 pandemic arrived.
During lockdown Christine has discovered some of the great online resources including Adaptive Yoga, but found that what she needed was something that improved core body strength. So, when the WheelPower resistance bands were mentioned to her by a friend she applied for a free set and received them in December 202
“The bands have been great and since they arrived I have been using them several times a day. I have them on the table so pick them up often, and depending on how I’m feeling I will either do series of shorter exercises or one big routine. Having the different colours has also meant I have been able to build up my strength from using the red initially, to now using the black most often.”
“They have been an excellent way to regain my fitness and build up core muscles again, and during the cold winter months have kept my arms moving when I have been unable to go out.”
With the continued lockdown and being at home, the time that we all spend outside exercising and getting some fresh air has been of even greater importance. This is also true of Christine who enjoys meeting up with friends in her local area.
“I do much prefer to be outside pushing my wheelchair, but with the weather being as it is and the latest lockdown this has become more and more difficult to do. When the sun shines I like to go out for a push, and as I live halfway up the hill it can be quite taxing to get to the top. Even though its only ¾ mile cyclists find it tough! At the moment it takes me about 20 minutes to get to the top and I am working on getting that time down.”
“I do enjoy pushing, but it is just one movement and one that doesn’t give me that full body workout. But now with my new bands from WheelPower I am finding new ways to build up my upper arm strength which have been very beneficial for my core muscles. The resistance bands are so versatile and there are lots of different exercises I like doing.”
“One of my favourite exercises is attaching the bands to the doorknob and pulling it over and in line with my shoulder. I am also able to stand up in one of my wheelchairs which allows me to pull the bands from underneath, which has worked very well too.”
The resistance bands have provided Christine with new ways of exercising from her home and we are thrilled to hear that they have benefitted her both mentally and physically during this difficult time. Staying active over this last year means that Christine will be ready to return to her favourite activities once again when the time allows.
“Right now, I just can’t wait to get back on the water to sail again. I am very fortunate that my local Sailability group meet at Rutland Water twice a week, which is great as it is just a short journey for me to get there.”
Christine also has ambitions to try new sports once the pandemic is over, including cricket and sledge hockey. As she continues, “My father loved cricket and it is a sport that is very much in the family genes. Before the lockdown I was due to take part in a taster, so this is something I would love to have a go at when we are able. Sledge hockey is also something that appeals to me and I know of some local teams close by, so watch this space!”
Not only is Christine setting her sights on new sports, but she also wants to take on a zip wire challenge! She hopes that in the years ahead that she will have the opportunity to visit Snowdonia, in North Wales, which has the fastest zip line in the world! With speeds reaching over 100mph this is not one for the faint hearted and we wish Christine all the best, and look forward to seeing the photos.
Thank you Christine for sharing your story with WheelPower. We hope the bands bring you much joy for many years to come and that you continue to enjoy the benefits of sport and physical activity when the pandemic is over.
If you have received resistance bands from WheelPower and would like to share your story then please get in contact with the team and we will be in touch shortly firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply for a FREE set of Resistance Bands from WheelPower
Apply now for a set of resistance bands so that you can keep active at home during this difficult time. If your application is successful we will send you a resistance band set which will include hand grips, ankle straps and a door anchor that make it easier to target different muscle groups, including biceps and triceps, back and shoulders, chest and legs and abdominals. Resistance training builds resistive power in body muscles and there are many benefits to adding these exercises to your weekly routine.
The bands can be used for the exercises features in our Resistance Band Exercises for Wheelchair Users film or for yoga, warming up before exercising, strength training or physical therapy rehabilitation. They are designed for aerobic and anaerobic exercise, physical fitness and weight loss.
You must be a UK resident to apply.