to start and you don't need designer clothes!
My journey started in late May 2012. I won’t lie, I really love to live a still, quiet life. My job even enables me to fulfil my love of the sedentary. The thought of going to the beach and sitting back with a wine and some cheese and crackers with a side dish of dark chocolate was a delicious thought, I love relaxing, exercise to me was not a form of relaxation but rather excruciating punishment. When I went to my doctor with chronic back pain, he weighed me and to say I was in shock would be a complete understatement. My weight had ballooned to the highest level it had ever been! What have I done!
My doctor, gotta love him! He was a brave man! He suggested I attend the Green Apple Wellness Centre for an assessment to see if they could help with my back pain. I attended this initial appointment with trepidation and quite frankly sheer panic. I have to admit I was not looking forward to the recommendation at all. I knew what was coming, I knew I was going to have to change my life dramatically. No more couch hugging with “Fifty Shades” and a double serve of delectably good cheese and chocolate!
Within 1 1/2 weeks of my appointment I was signed up and on my way, in hindsight, I should have signed up that very first day… but I needed a bit more time to prepare myself for my loss. My love of being comatose made it difficult in the first few weeks. It was hard to make the time in my routine of work and lounging on the couch to commit to a program. At the same time something inside me was driving me to make the time, to make the commitment for a better version of me (Damn that Advertisement!). At first I struggled with the equipment, hey! lifting 1kg over my head on the chin up machine was not exactly pleasant! And the cross trainer, who does that with their arms while their legs are moving faster than the “Road Runner – Beep Beep!”. I persevered with it… sometimes dragging myself to the gym, my husband all the while telling me what a great job I was doing (he’s a keeper!)
What can I say, loss did happen… after approximately 6 weeks at Green Apple, I lost the back pain (I won’t be looking for that anytime soon!!) 13 kg’s (Yay! Always did love a downhill slide!) and 15cm off my waist (hmm! Does this mean I can go shopping?). I have energy to burn and I can’t keep the smile off my face. I still struggle with the chin up machine, but I don’t dread it anymore and I just gave up holding onto the handles on the cross trainer, that didn’t work for me. The life that used to revolve around a good wine and chocolate has gone not such a bad loss after all! Don’t get me wrong, I still relax, I just make sure that it comes after I have expelled some energy and done a workout at Green Apple. I am proud to say that I have not had a piece of chocolate since that fateful day at the doctor’s …
If I knew then what I know now, would I have panicked about my perceived loss.
NO WAY! I would have jumped in feet first and grabbed hold of that dreaded chin up machine and pumped it up! Life is Good!
Thank you Green Apple and all the wonderfully supportive staff for helping me save myself from me.
Thanks to some great doctors and the Green Apple I turn 83 this month. I never expected to reach this age. I have had ill health for most of my life. When I was 27 and pregnant with our third baby I had the misfortune to contract Guillain Barre Syndrome. This usually occurs after an infection. It is a fairly rare acute disorder affecting the nervous system causing paralysis of legs, arms and respiratory muscles. It also affected my eyesight. There was very little known about this in 1958. The doctors expected me to be in hospital for 6 months but I was determined to get back to my little boys and made it out in 6 weeks. There was no physiotherapy or help of any sort back then. I just got out of bed holding on to other beds in the ward and made my legs move.
Unfortunately, I then developed very acute asthma. I had many days in hospital and sometimes 2 or 3 days a week having physio to clear my lungs. Large doses of cortisone and other drugs helped a little. Then the aerosol cortisone was developed and gave me a better quality of life. I then got a job in Market Research. In the 1970’s research was mostly carried out by interviewers talking to people in their homes. So I tucked my ventolin in a pocket and walked miles around the suburbs. I became a supervisor and then was approached by market research companies down south to set up my own business. This grew into a seven day a week job with very long hours. I still suffered from some asthma but it was more under control. During this time my body seemed to grow lumps inside so that I had a hysterectomy and partial thyroidectomy.
In 1992 I came down with what I called a flu. I was very ill for a couple of weeks and then after this I was eventually diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pain was so bad I could not turn over in bed or even pull a sheet over me. Keeping my business going, dealing with clients and the management of staff was a challenge. The rheumatologist tried every tablet on the market with little success. Then in 2001 he tried Methotrexate, which was originally developed as a chemotherapy drug. I was clear of the devastating pain for the first time in years. Realising that I needed to do something to strengthen my muscles (I had read about special exercises for arthritis sufferers) I phoned one gym but the lass on the phone did not seem to know what I was talking about. I then remembered that I had seen the Green Apple and when I phoned was lucky to speak to Victoria who said “I can help you.” Unfortunately, I could not keep taking that medicine because of the side effects but by then I was involved in the exercise program and that helped a lot. I now take the methotrexate by injection once a week and other drugs and pain killers that combined with the exercise keeps me going. A doctor has recently told me that asthma and rheumatoid arthritis are now known to be a consequence of the Guillain Barre Syndrome. Since joining Green Apple, Victoria and the great staff have helped me through a knee replacement and breast cancer. It was my lucky day that I phoned the Green Apple.
I can attest to the efficacy of doing resistance training. A few months ago I had a serious accident, slipping over on a sudsy floor and slamming my chest into the corner of a divan. My rib bones did not break but I did a lot of damage to my lungs. Now at 83 I am healthier than at most times of my life. Without the structured exercise program at the Green Apple I could not have the quality of life that I now enjoy.
Edit Note: Rae is an amazing woman who appears to stay mentally strong regardless of the multiple challenges life throws at her. I know Rae could have written so much more of her journey here and she has been frugal in her telling of this story…. So much more could have been included. Space is always the problem!!
“I would like to thank the staff at Green Apple Wellness Centre for their ongoing support and encouragement since my doctor referred me to the Exercise Physiologists to help with my ongoing knee problem and difficulty in losing weight. I have since joined the gym and the Exercise Physiologists have worked out an exercise program for me.
My doctor also referred me to the Type 2 Diabetes course which I have recently completed and enjoyed immensely. Combined with the exercise program, the Diabetes course has been an invaluable source of information regarding diet, exercise and lifestyle modification. Thank you especially to Felicity, who not only conducts a very informative and enjoyable Diabetes course but has helped me get back on track again after a recent pleurisy attack.
The exercise program and Diabetes course have made a great difference in my life – carrying less weight and exercising has meant my knee and back have been strengthened and I am doing more than I have in a very long time. I am a passionate quilter and have been able to enjoy my craft a lot more since my fitness level has improved. It has also done wonders for my self confidence.
All in all I am feeling much better in myself and my doctor is more than happy with my results. Thanks again to the friendly staff at Green Apple.”
It was suggested to me by my orthopedic specialist to try the 5 following ideas to help me with my health issues:
1. back support (Bassett) for my car
2. Back brace for use at work (still to get)
3. Sorbothane inner soles for work shoes (due to a lot of walking in the job on hard floors)
4. Anti-inflammatories when needed
It was the last that led me to the Green Apple Wellness Centre. I didn’t know what to expect, but after my interview and armed with a lot of information I found I was looking forward to starting my program.
I am really impressed with it, my exercise physiologist Felicity, and all the other staff for their knowledge, experience, skill and dedication. This has made it a lot easier for me to be fully committed to my program. I look at the itinerary each week to work out my personal itinerary of 3 Forever Active sessions, 1 night of stretches and meditation/relaxation an Friday night. I was concerned that when I retired, I wouldn’t be capable of doing much but I feel now that I am definitely on the right track to changing that. Due largely in part to Green Apple.
As a member of the Green Apple gym with Type 2 Diabetes I thought I would do the HEAL course to see if it would help with trying to lose weight and change my lifestyle. I found this very educational.
Courtney ran the course and I found it good as we discussed many aspects of a healthy lifestyle and exercise and the amount to eat and analysis the food that we were eating. It was hard work to self analyze but with Courtney’s guidance this is the only way to see what you are eating. We also checked the amount of calories we burnt while doing our exercise programme to see what impact this had on what we were eating.
I now check what I am eating before I eat instead of just eating without thinking. This course helped me immensely. I am glad I did it. It just might help you on your journey too!
Libby suggested I write to you to relate what has happened since I started at Green Apple. One of my roles here at Suncorp is, I manage meeting rooms. The company had MBF come in and do health tests on its people. I decided to run in and have mine done too, not even thinking of how my results would turn out. The really good news is – they said I showed the fitness of someone 21 years younger than I am. All the other tests were excellent and I was so happy that I had paid the price and joined the Gym. I really just wanted to say thank you all for your time and effort in helping me reach my goals.
The other thing she said you may want to hear is one of the ways I motivate myself to come sometimes when my feelings are telling me to stay at home! I ask myself, (I have these conversations with myself!) :-
- “Bernice are you able to dress in your Gym gear?” –“ Yes I can!”
- “Bernice are you able to drive to Gym?” – “Yes I can do that!”
- “Bernice are you able to get out of the car?” – “Yes I can do that!” (While I am asking these questions I don’t even think about the hour I will be at Gym)
- “Are you able to walk into the Gym?” –“Yes I can!”
And once I have walked in the door then you are all there and so are the other people and I no longer have any problems at going through the motions of doing my exercises. I hope this makes sense. What I am trying to say is I just take the next step, and I can easily take the next step.
In Approximately April 2008, it was suggested by Helen Brummell of G.P. Partners, that I would possibly benefit from taking part in a program/programs at Green Apple. I did agree to take up her suggestion and have been attending basically 3/4/5 times a week since.
Whilst I had a small “gym” at home, I couldn’t get sufficiently enthused to use it, meanwhile, I was becoming less fit due to my underlying health problems and the
side-effects of the medications I required. Other members at Green Apple confirmed that they had similar problems.
My main medical problems are: cardiomyopathy, asthma, mild emphysema and bronchiectasis. They are all under control, but I am very prone to chest (lower respiratory tract) infections and part of the treatment for such involves fairly large doses of cortico-steroids. One of the side-effects of this is muscle wastage and a tendency towards osteoporosis.
Prior to joining Green Apple, I had been walking very regularly, which kept my heart problem reasonably well under control, and maintained lower body strength, but the upper body was becoming a bit of a worry and I did have a lot of trouble clearing mucous from my lungs whenever I developed an infection.
At Easter 2009, I developed a particularly nasty chest infection, which cleared up with the usual doses of cortico steroids and antibiotics, but the interesting thing was that I had no trouble clearing the mucous naturally and did not have to go through the previously usual visits to a physiotherapist for percussion massage.
I also had a follow-up bone density scan in September 2008, and this revealed that my bone density had improved by about 5% over the previous 2 years and was then back to normal.
In August 2010, a chest X-ray revealed a spot on a lung and further tests and scans revealed that this was, in fact, Lung Cancer. Because it was found early, the only treatment necessary was a wedge resection of the area using keyhole surgery. Whilst the surgeon suggested I may be in hospital for 4/5 or even 6 days, I was released after 3 and although it had been suggested a physiotherapist would be seeing me 3/4 times a day during my stay, I was only visited once on the morning after surgery. It was interesting that everyone (the physio, surgeon and nurses) kept telling me “you can’t do that” after I had successfully done something they suggested. On enquiry, they admitted it was because I had kept reasonably fit by going to the gym (Green Apple) 4/5 times a week.
My Thoracic Physician, Cardiologist and G.P. all insist that I should continue attending the Green Apple Wellness Centre
From my experience, I consider it should be mandatory for everyone over a certain age and particularly those with chronic health problems, to attend somewhere like Green Apple as it is fairly obvious there is a definite health benefit in regular programmed exercise.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive, degenerate, neurological disease. At present, there is no cure for it. There! I’ve got all the bad news over in two sentences! Now for the good stuff! While it is progressive, it has a very slow progression. I was first diagnosed in December, 2002, and the neurologist told me then that I had probably had the disease for five or six years. This means that I have had P.D. for over fifteen years, yet I feel stronger, fitter and more agile than I did when I was first diagnosed. How come?
P.D. affects the brain in a number of ways and not all people share the same symptoms. A wooden face, tremors, stiffening of the joints, slowness of movement and speech difficulties are just some of the ways the disease makes itself known.
Fortunately, most of these symptoms can be controlled to some degree and the degenerative nature of the disease can be slowed down. For instance –
Surgery – Deep Brain Stimulation where probes are fitted into the brain and fed tiny electrical impulses from stimulators implanted in the chest. Sounds nasty, but doesn’t hurt a bit and is quite effective in dealing with tremors.
Medication – Several medications are very effective in doing the same by providing dopamine to the brain. Unfortunately, because of the progressive nature of the disease these doses have to be adjusted upwards from time to time.
Exercise – Any form of physical or mental exercise is good as it assists in helping the brain form new connections. The exercise physiologists at the Green Apple are able to assess where a new client is at and then formulate an exercise program tailored to suit the client’s needs.
One interesting and challenging piece of equipment at the Green Apple is the Skywall. Perhaps part of the mystique of the wall lies in the sign which says one must be licensed to use it. Sounds a bit James Bondish, doesn’t it? I was hooked. I just had to have a go! Felicity was the only one brave or “blonde” enough to believe that a sixty something year old guy with P.D. should be able to climb the wall. The most difficult part turned out to be working out which switch was which. With me hauling myself ever upwards and Felicity pushing from below, I made it to the top and proudly rode it back to ground level.
The climbing wall certainly gives the whole body a work out and is well worth a try, but remember – just like James Bond – you must be licensed.
Interests – It is very important that you do not vegetate after receiving a diagnosis of P.D. I consider myself lucky to have had a large range of interests, most of which I have been able to maintain in one form or another. For example, before P.D., I played the guitar well enough to sing along with. I still play the guitar, but rather badly. Ruth and I were both members of a canoe club and I could beat her easily. Now she has to stop and wait for me.
My passion, other than my wife, has always been fishing. I still enjoy being out in my tinnie and occasionally catch a fish worth bragging about. The point that I am trying to make here is that being told that you have P.D. is not like receiving a death sentence, but more of a reminder that life is precious and you had better get on with living yours while you still can.
In June last year I decided that it was time to get fit and lose some weight. Needing motivation, I decided to join a gym. I had been a member of a few gyms in Melbourne, and my experience with these gyms had not given me a very positive view. However, I was assured by my friends that the Green Apple was a “different” gym and it was well worth a try.
So it was with some trepidation that I ventured into the Green Apple. My friends were correct – it was a “different” gym, and what a difference! It is extremely difficult to get across the culture of any place however I will try.
Firstly and foremost the staff are friendly, non-judgmental, encouraging, helpful and visible. Secondly you are always greeted by name on arrival and departure, instantly making you feel welcome and a part of the gym.
The equipment is up to date and easy to use, however if you are not sure of what you are doing, there is always someone who will help.
The classes are small, which means the instructor is able to keep an eye on you and has knowledge of the participant’s fitness levels.
The members are relaxed, friendly and non-competitive. Everyone knows they are there to get fit, however the word comfortable comes in mind and I am sure that is because of the outdoor atmosphere giving a feeling of freshness and openness. There is no loud music, or banks of televisions either, allowing members to chat to one another.
Whilst all the above is extremely important, there is something more, and that is the culture which has obviously been built up over the years and which is intangible and hard to explain. The best way I can explain it is to say that it feels like my gym, I don’t just go there, I feel like I belong.
I am now much fitter, stronger and more flexible than I was a year ago, not only have I lost weight, but my body is looking much more toned, and my arms actually have definition! Sleeveless dresses are now in my wardrobe.
I am so glad that I took my friends advice – it has been well worth it.
Try it – you will not be disappointed.
It is fourteen years this March since I first walked into the Green Apple Gym as it was then known. I had no idea what a gym was about but as Victoria showed me around and then sat and talked with me asking what my goals were I immediately felt at home.
My goals at that stage were related to my chest. I had been critically injured in a motor car accident some years before leaving me with amongst other things, fractured ribs and damaged lungs later resulting in Bronchiectasis. A program was drawn up and I set about attending on a regular basis. A few months later I was due to have a repeat Bone Density test and found to my delight that it had improved since the previous test, an added bonus attending a gym.
I wish I could say I have attended every week but things like sickness, a holiday and the death of my husband saw me missing from my program but I always went back.
In 2008 when I was 78 years old I suffered a minor stroke. The doctor who admitted me to hospital remarked he had never heard of a person of 78 going to a gym. On my discharge that same doctor commented that if I had not been going to a gym I would not have made such a good recover.
The last few years I seem to take one step forward and two steps back but Victoria is always there giving support. At the end of 2011, I suddenly became allergic to ants following a bite and severe anaphylaxis reaction and a trip to the Emergency Department, very scary!! Three weeks after that and again on the 2nd January this year further bites but now carry an Epi pen which I give myself but still have to go to an ED and still quite scary.
In February last year I had two Melanomas removed then in June was diagnosed with Lupus, all these setbacks have meant time away from Green Apple but again, I go back.
Over the years I have seen how Victoria has extended the area, added new equipment, a pool and introduced many new programs and the staff to supervise them. It is now a well recognised Wellness Centre. To me, Green Apple is like an extended family, a cheerful welcome from staff who are always willing to listen to you, and my goals are still important when setting a new program.
During my working life as a Registered Nurse, I learnt that the efficiency and atmosphere of an area depended on the person in charge and this is proved at Green Apple. Victoria’s work ethics, her vision and ability to carry out her ambitions and employ suitable staff is the reason for the centre’s success.
A person who must not be forgotten is Brian, Victoria’s husband. Equipment is OK as long as it is maintained in working order and this is just one of Brian’s many jobs. He is always there beside Victoria supporting her, he is one of the team.
I had forgotten one last thing. I’ve had muscular problems, ( thought to be due to Lupus). My GP was sure it was muscular but to be on the safe side X-rayed my hip. I couldn’t believe the result, at 82 (nearly 83) it reported “slight degenerative changes”. Thank you again Green Apple.
My overall fitness level has certainly increased since starting here seven years ago and I know I always feel better after a session at the gym.
I do personal training once a week with Steve, and the encouragement and motivation that he gives me is fantastic. I know I would not work as hard by myself. He has helped me achieve a fitter me and I have lost weight.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, the Green Apple is for you. You always receive a welcoming smile when you come in. I enjoy going to the gym and the other members are very supportive. All the staff are always helpful and friendly too.