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Pioneering gym team help Doddie tackle MND

Former Scotland lock Doddie Weir has teamed up with a Borders gym in order to look at ways to overcome the long-term effects of neurological and other long-term illnesses.

In amongst his public life and the overseeing of Doddie Weir’5 MND trust, the giant Melrose man has found great benefit in managing his own MND diagnosis by taking part in cardio and resistance training at TriFitness in Galashiels.

Working with Doddie during his three times a week workout sessions has been an educational experience for the five-strong TriFitness team and this week they announced that they will be working alongside Doddie Weir’5 MND Trust to deliver a set of pilot session’s offering a dedicated studio-based fitness activity suitable for anyone with an MND diagnosis or similar condition.

Speaking at the announcement, Doddie, who won 61 caps between 1990 and 2000, explained:

“This all stems from my chiropractor, Donald Francis, telling me that if I don’t use it I’ll lose it.

“MND is a muscle wasting illness so the idea was to come along to the gym and see if there was anything that could help. After speaking to Mark (Forsyth) and the team I came away feeling really positive and now we want to reach out to others in a similar situation.

“I was never too keen on gym work so to come along to TriFitness and make use of their machinery, which you can also watch telly and do sudoko on, has been a wonderful experience.” 

Leading the sessions will be Doddie’s close friend Scott Chapman, Senior Health and Fitness Advisor at TriFitness, who is encouraging people with these types of conditions to use the facility to get active and feel good.

“The sessions will involve low impact exercise, aiming to improve general health, coordination, strength and flexibility,” he explained.

“They could last between 30-45 minutes and can be in a class environment or individually in the gym if participants wish. This can also be an opportunity for people diagnosed with MND to get together and talk in a friendly comfortable place.”

Mark Forsyth, Manager at Trifitness, added: “Doddie’s inspiration to improve his general health regardless of his diagnosis has left a positive impact on the staff, as well as the other members in Trifitness.

“His general character and sense of humour always creates a great atmosphere in the gym and a nice place to be around.”

Hawick’s Sarah Phillips, Harry Howland, from Selkirk, and Suzanne Wilson from Kelso make up the five-strong team that will be on hand to advise anyone who wishes to get involved in the sessions. 

Harry commented: “Everyone is different and has different requirements for their fitness programme so we try to tailor it to the needs of the individual. In Doddie's case those needs are muscle related so we do a lot of resistance training with him to help with that.

“There is also the mental wellbeing side of things too so we try to make the sessions as much fun as possible and make coming to the gym a real social occasion to help them achieve whatever goals they need to achieve.”

For more information on the planned pilot sessions or to ask about fitness and wellbeing in general contact any of the team on info@trifitness.org.uk.

Please note provisional dates for sessions beginning will be announced in due course.

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