I am 37 years old and at an induction session at a local gym last night I was asked "Have you ever been to a gym before?" I'm sure they expect most people of my age to answer "Yes" but to my horror, I answered "NO".

Before my accident (now with a spinal cord injury T12 complete) I used to go to fitness classes but never the gym. Since being in a wheelchair I have dabbled with wheelchair tennis and swimming and was a member of a wheelchair basketball club for a few years.

I think that the main reasons for my evasion of gyms have been 1) being very self conscious - especially about transferring on and off the equipment and 2) preferring the social aspect of a team sport/activity.

However, now I am a Mum (hurrah!) my loyalties lie closer to home rather than travelling unrealistic distances to basketball training and matches. Also, my office-based work means that I do not rush around all day expending energy.

So, it is time to do something constructive that I can fit in around my family and work commitments.........my increasing waist line is demanding that I either do this or buy clothes in the next size up!! I have tried pushing round the block but negotiating the cambers of the pavements, dropped curbs, inclines, declines etc make it all unpredictable and therefore difficult to set a steady pace.

I have discovered that my local council-run gym is just the ticket – they have about 5 pieces of equipment that can be used by wheelchairs users as well as able-bodied people. The locking mechanism for the seat/bench can easily be released allowing the seat/bench to be rotated to the side. This enables wheelchair access to the equipment. There are even two hand-cycles that have seats that can be removed to allow wheelchair access.

I tried all of the 5 pieces of equipment last night and went back this afternoon and hand-cycled for 10km. I am so pleased that I have found an environment where I can work out properly whilst remaining in my wheelchair.

I would urge anyone who is thinking about going to the gym but keeps putting it off to look in to facilities available in their local area. I was pleasantly surprised and you may be too!