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UNIVERSITY student Erin Ardern is enjoying a new life, after exercise helped her out of a wheelchair and back to fitness and health.

As a young teenager the Lincolnshire girl found herself confined to a wheelchair. Affected terribly by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Erin’s physical health gradually deteriorated – to the point where she was unable to walk.

She was telling her story to highlight the benefits of health and exercise in the same week as National Fitness Day, which took place on Wednesday – September 25.

“I was in a wheelchair from the age of 14 and yes, it was very hard as I had been a very physically active person and enjoyed horse riding and dancing,” explained Erin.

“You don’t realise the extent to which your physical health affects your mental health and there were points when I could not see a way through. However, at the age of around 17 I knew that things had to change and the starting point in getting back on my feet was physio,” she said.

With a need to regain her confidence and her fitness levels, a nervous Erin made her first trip to Louth’s Meridian Leisure Centre – initially she swam, but that was followed by a bespoke fitness programme.

“Yes, you may feel a little intimidated when you walk in for the first time, but there is no need to. When I came along the staff were great, and very supportive,” said Erin.

“At times my recovery hasn’t been easy but if you push through the hard bits, the rewards are even better. It’s made me feel great,” she added.

On National Fitness Day itself, Erin had returned to Bangor University on the second year of her English Language and Sociology degree course – however, her gym membership there will ensure she carries on her health and fitness programme.

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