Sheron is 62 years old from Knebworth. She was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her 40s which caused her to experience excruciating sciatica.
‘By the time I was 55 I had been managing my arthritis with pain killers for about 10 years. I was doing less and less because I was scared it would cause more pain.
My doctor had suggested exercise but I couldn’t see how it was going to help me and I could always find a million excuses to miss the gym. I took stronger tablets but the pain was always there.
Then I developed sciatica. I’d had it before, but this was different. The pain was excruciating and so debilitating.
I went to a specialist who explained that my spine was deteriorating and if I wanted to have less pain I needed to move more. I felt that if I didn’t follow his advice I’d end up in a wheelchair.
I love my garden so decided to open my garden for charity under The National Garden Scheme before it was too late. This gave me a goal and made me get out in the garden every single day, rain or shine. Initially it was for just a few minutes each day but increased as I got stronger and the sciatica began to improve.
At the same time I started to see a Pilates instructor, who then recommended a physiotherapist and they encouraged me to do activities that I enjoyed.
I ended up having a hip replacement but because I was active I recovered from the operation quicker than I would have if I’d just been sitting around. Once I was up and about there was no turning back.
I had always wanted to dance from a young age and now in my late 50s, felt that life was too short not to give it a go, so I joined a dance class for the over 50s. I now go twice a week.
It’s so much fun, it doesn’t feel like exercise and it has boosted my confidence and I’ve made some lovely friends. There’s a lady in my class who, at the age of 85, told me she took up tap dancing when she was 60 and still does it. This fun-loving lady is a real inspiration to me. If we can do it then anyone can.
We are all different shapes, sizes and ages but we do as much as we can. It’s about giving it a go and having fun. The more mistakes we make, the more we laugh.’