An inspiring customer improves both physical and mental wellbeing

"I’m very proud of myself. Everything is coming together and this new-found love of exercise has filled a gap in my life."

A traumatic road accident in May this year left Karen Coleman with a fractured knee and unable to do all the things she loved in life. Immediately after the accident, Karen who is 58 and from Grimsby, was only able to get out of the house to attend hospital appointments and relied on family and friends for all her immediate care. 

Spending much of her time on her computer, reading and colouring, as well as doing repetitive physio exercises, Karen was left in a “black hole”; the aftermath of the accident taking its toll not only on her physical wellbeing but also on her mental health.

It was at one physio session that a referral was made for Karen to talk to Lincs Inspire’s health and wellbeing team at Grimsby Leisure Centre. Having never stepped foot in the building before despite living just around the corner, Karen now visits on a daily basis and says it has changed her life for the better.

“I’m so much happier, it really has given me a different outlook on life”, said Karen. “My accident left me in a bad place. When you are so used to doing things; working fulltime and enjoying your hobbies, when all of that is taken away, it is hard. My physio recommended that I come down to the leisure centre, so I thought I’d give it a try.” 

After a short chat with Ian from the health and wellbeing team, Karen began using the centre’s toning suite, which is home to 14 specially designed toning stations, offering customers a relaxing and gentle form of exercise that is ideal for rehabilitation, amongst other things.

Karen added: “When I first started I would come every day. I was able to quickly build up my confidence and the staff showed me exactly what to do. The toning suite gave my whole body a gentle workout and I built up from there. I then moved onto using the pool, with the help of the pool-hoist, and eventually the main gym. The exercise bike was great for getting mobility back to my knee; 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon. 
“I still use the main gym now and as a lot of the equipment is adapted for people with mobility problems, it is great for my recovery, plus you can ask the staff anything.”

Ian Shorley-Harlow, fitness supervisor at Grimsby Leisure Centre, said: “Karen is an inspiration to us. The determination she has shown from day one is to be applauded. She is the first to admit she wasn’t in a good place when she first came to us here at Grimsby Leisure Centre. But now she really is a different person. She lights up the room and it is great to see how far she has come. Karen is an example to others of what can be achieved if you step out of your comfort zone and really apply yourself.

“All of our customers are going through their own battles but everyone is so encouraging and supportive of others. By sharing Karen’s story, we hope that it may inspire other people to pop down to see what we offer and how we can help.”

Karen’s physiotherapist has now signed her off treatment. “I’m very proud of myself”, Karen said. “Everything is coming together and this new-found love of exercise has filled a gap in my life. 

“I’ve also got more compassion and admiration for people who have a disability or have been effected by any type of an accident. It is soul destroying, everything is taken away. I now have a new lease of life and I’m a lot happier.”

If you would like any information on what the health and wellbeing team at Grimsby Leisure Centre can offer you, please contact (01472) 323100.


Karen would like to thank the following people for their help on her road to recovery:

Family: Donna Thompson, Shanaye Thompson and Steven Day;
Friends: Loui Tomlinson, Michele Bramley and Pete Leaning; and
Physio: Liam Stanley.