Exercise classes for overlooked people with Parkinson's, MS and cancer
- Credit: Beth Boxall
A young personal trainer has launched a specialist service for people with long term clinical conditions, after seeing them turned away by professionals put off by their complex needs.
Beth Boxall was inspired to start Bounce Back Exercise by her late uncle Tom Isaacs, who co-founded The Cure Parkinson’s Trust and won Charity Personality of the Year in 2004.
His work with people affected by the disease was ground-breaking and left a long-lasting legacy for his niece, who says he made her passionate about helping people.
The 26-year-old clinical exercise specialist and level 4 PT lives in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, but spends summers at the family home in Thorpeness, Suffolk, where she built up a good network of older clients.
"I was working at a clinic in London with cancer patients and saw that a lot of people were scared to work with them because they are so vulnerable," she said.
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"I realised so many people with these conditions were being turned away, so decided in March 2020 to make sure people have access to exercise and sports.
"People going through surgery lose a lot of muscle mass and fatigue quickly so the benefits of physical exercise are huge."
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Miss Boxall conducts her work over Zoom for now, doing one-to-one sessions, then specialist classes for different illnesses and symptoms, including muscle weakness, fatigue, coordination and balance problems.
One client with cancer says the PT was the first to see her as a person rather than a patient, while another with Multiple Sclerosis said since working with her their strength has improved so they can now climb in and out of the bath on their own.
"It used to be that patients were told to rest, but over the last 20 years that is changing," she added. "Research has shown the benefits and trainers just need a little creativity because there are so many things they can still do.
"I'm trying to keep it affordable because many people with long term conditions are limited by funds if they can't work and I want to make sure my classes are accessible for everyone."