Despite the commitments of family and career, 51-year-old Pet has always strived to adopt a physically active lifestyle. When a prolapsed disc meant she had to give up her first love of horse riding, she turned to running to build up her core muscles and aid her back.
Pet joined Redway Runners in Milton Keynes and soon developed a passion for the sport, building up her strength and stamina through 5K, 10K runs, fun-runs, half-marathons and eventually full marathons. But like so many new runners, she made the mistake of not stretching, warming up and cooling down properly resulting in running injuries. “I started to suffer calf-strain problems. This turned into an ongoing issue, which I never seemed to fully recover from and really affected my performance.” She explains.
The pain became so severe and persistent that Pet was forced to pull out of marathons and events she was desperate to compete in. With her new found passion under threat, she knew she had to take decisive action. Willing to try anything to get her legs back into shape, she decided to dip her toes, and aching calves, into the world of yoga.
“Although I knew a number of my friends had tried yoga and really enjoyed it, it wasn’t something I’d really ever considered before,” she explains. Her first yoga session made a significant impression on her. “I was struck by what a lovely place the studio is and also how friendly and welcoming the people there are. The instructor gave me lots of personal attention, correcting my poses when necessary and letting me know what particular muscles I was supposed to be focussing on.”
Convinced to give yoga a go, Pet decided to take up Sweat’s Newbie Deal: 30 days of yoga for just £39. “During that first month I found that yoga fitted into my busy lifestyle brilliantly. By taking Sweat’s early morning and lunchtime hot yoga classes, I was able to go three times a week without impacting my other training.”
Pet quickly noticed significant improvements in her strength, flexibility and balance and signed up as a member. Reflecting on her progress so far, Pet highlights the non-competitive nature of yoga. “Like any form of exercise, you get out what you put in,” she explains, “you are encouraged to set your own goals and challenge yourself, but you never feel compared to anyone else, you only work within your personal limits.”
Now, just a few months later, regular yoga classes have rid Pet of her running injuries. “Thanks to the yoga, I’ve been able to get back into running again; my legs have really improved and all those calf strain issues have completely gone. The changes have been so impressive, that my sports physiotherapist said it was like I had a completely different set of legs!”