I Developed My Own Fitness Programme

Muscular dystrophy led Sarah Goldsack, 51, to create Paracise, a workout for people who can’t attend other fitness classes ’ve always loved music and movement – as a child, I did ballroom dancing and, at 18, I trained to be an exercise-to- music instructor. For 30 years, I taught up to 20 group classes a week, including Zumba, Barre Fitness and Fitsteps.

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I was really tit and never got tired, ill or injured; I had no physical or mental health issues at all and was really mindful of my body, stretching, resting and doing a variety of classes so my muscles were worked evenly. ‘But in 2013, my right leg became very weak and I started to limp. I saw I came out of surgery, I did three minutes of exercise; the next day, I did three and a half; then four, and so on.’


‘I realised there were no gentle workouts aimed at people who aren’t able to participate in conventional fitness classes. So I developed deo r a physiotherapist who said it might be my own fitness neurological, so I went to my doctor, who programme and Paracise (paracise.com) sent me for a series of fests. I was very confused – I wasn’t in any pain and was was launched in January 2018. ‘The 45-minute, dance-based class organisations such as Age UK and Parkinsons UK, I teach two Paracise still teaching my classes, but getting progressively weaker all down my right side. Fear of the unknown was stressful is aimed at anyone who finds traditional exercise classes too demanding or intimidating. Each one starts with deep classes a week. The participants inspire me to continue working so hard; telling me, “I can’t wait to come next week but, 18 months later, in 2014, I was diagnosed with fascioscapulohumerol WORDS: Gabrielle Nathan. muscular dystrophy (FSH). It’s incurable, unbeatable and degenerative but not fatal – so not as bad as it could have been.’


‘Despite my diagnosis, I kept going, adapting my classes and focusing on upper-body moves. But in March 2017, during a class, I ruptured my knee joint. I was eager to get back to teaching so, when the consultant told me that I’d never be able to teach those classes again, I was devastated. I’ve moved to music every single day since I was a little girl – it’s my income, my life, my everything. I felt like my world had collapsed. ‘With the fantastic support of my husband Andy, 59, my sons Jack, 30, Harry, 23, and Tom, 19, my mum, my friends and my clients, I stayed positive. Knowing it was vital to move every day to offset the constant weakening and atrophying of my muscles, two days after The consultant told me that I’d never be able to teach these classes again’ breathing and an element of mindfulness, although the music ensures it’s also uplifting and energising. ‘Already, there are 60 instructors across the UK, teaching over 130 Paracise classes to around 3,000 people and I’m thrilled with the success. We’re now expanding the programme and will soon launch four more programmes: Paracise in the pool, Paracise Pilates, Paracise yoga and Paracise in the gym. Demand is so high that we’re searching for passionate instructors to teach these classes.’ A LIFELINE ‘Alongside training instructors and showcasing the programmes to


‘Even three minutes of stretching and deep breathing gets your blood pumping, wakes up your muscles and makes you feel better.’


You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Take a deep breath, and step out of your comfort zone.’


Don’t be afraid of telling your instructor if you’re nervous about the class. It’s the instructor’s job to put you at ease and help you enjoy the time.’ – it’s my lifeline”.’ ‘Of course, I’ve had to slow down. It fakes me longer to get anywhere as I find climbing stairs challenging and need a crutch it I’m walking further than 400m. But I go to the gym every day and still work seven days a week it I need to. My family and friends sometimes think I fake on too much, but they respect that I’m very driven and this is what makes me tick. ‘Although being diagnosed with FSH was a massive blow, I’m tine dealing with if now. In tact, having a lite-changing condition has allowed me to empathise with people with a wide range of conditions and allowed them to relate to me. Now, I can better understand the limitations of people in my classes, which makes me a better teacher.’

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