Exercise classes for disabled people – disabled fitness instructor Kris’s story – Scope video


KRIS: There’s very much a cotton wool approach when it comes to disability. But the majority of people with disabilities, we still like fast music We still like having fun. We still like getting our adrenaline going. And the classes that are generally provided from a fitness point of view, don’t meet that demand. My name is Kris Saunders-Stowe. I’m a fitness instructor for both disabled people and able-bodied people in the Herefordshire area. All my qualifications were to teach able-bodied clients I then went on and did my disability qualification which allowed me to make changes and adaptations to fine tune the classes that we do specifically to disability. I mainly worked in retail until about 6 or 7 years ago, and then I became ill. The physical side of it was deteriorating for me quite rapidly. And the more it deteriorated, the less I did. And of course, the less I did had implications on my mental health with depression, etc. I ended up becoming a hermit as such, and I rarely ever went out. 2012: I accidentally bumped into the Australian Paralympic team while visiting Cardiff. That gave me an idea of joining in with a sport. I went along to a local wheelchair basketball group, tried it out and just loved it instantly. Talking to other people who attended the club, I noticed that there was actually very little that they found available to them from a fitness aspect. I just thought this could be something I could that actually I could do with my disability. If I’m totally honest, I think personally I have a better quality of life now than I did as an able-bodied person. The reward I’m getting as well is seeing how other people are benefiting and changing their attitudes and abilities through taking part in the classes. My long term plan now is to progress the classes further, not just through ourselves, but as a national course. If it becomes the norm and we have that choice, then a lot more people can benefit from it and we can also change able-bodied people’s perceptions of disabled people because they will start mixing together. and appreciating what people can do.

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