Christopher was a self-confessed exercise addict! At the age of 53 and living in Worksop, he attended his local leisure centre daily, enjoying group classes and the adrenaline rush he got from working hard when exercising.
Having moved to Cleethorpes, Christopher continued training. But in July 2022 and on his way to the gym, he suffered a stroke. It left him unable to walk or talk and his daily routine and active lifestyle was brought to a sudden halt.
Christopher said: “I had two blood clots on my brain restricting the blood flow and killing that part of the brain. I was a week in hospital, and it was hard for me to work out why I couldn’t walk or talk any more. It was a very strange thing.
“Because part of my brain effectively died, they told me that I had to teach another part of the brain to take over the right-hand side. My blood clot was on the left, so it’s the right-hand side that was and continues to be affected.”
Having led such an active lifestyle before the stroke, and with the support of his doctor, Christopher turned to exercise to help with his recovery. Although having never attended Lincs Inspire leisure centre’s before his illness, Christopher decided to seek support through the charitable trust’s exercise on referral programme – Active Forever.
“When living in Worksop, the leisure centre I attended was a nice, community-based facility. It was great and I knew everyone. After the stroke my confidence was knocked, and I had low self-esteem. I wanted a leisure centre that felt more like a family, where I could fit in and get the same type of feeling I got from my previous centre in Worksop.
Chris added: “I tried Cleethorpes Leisure Centre. Firstly, the setting overlooking the beach is amazing, but I do believe it’s these leisure centres that are more homely and help you to fit in no matter what your level of fitness or situation.
“I’m back at work now, but during my recovery I was doing yoga four times a week, then BodyPump, spinning and I swam every day. Yoga is amazing, great for exercise in general but for your mind, it’s so powerful.
“I’m not doing as much exercise as I was but I’m back at work now doing a physical job. By the time I’ve come home from work I’m tired, so I do more at the weekends now. The doctors said that because I was so fit before the stroke, it’s why I was able to get back on my feet so quickly. But I also knew I needed exercise to help with my recovery. It’s done me good. It’s nice to just come and do what you can.”
Christopher joined Lincs Inspire on the 12-week Active Forever scheme, which recommends referral patients do two leisure activities per week. Christopher is currently continuing his wellbeing journey on a second 12-week scheme funded by the O’Flynn Foundation. A charity that supports people effected by neurological conditions.