Sunderland gym launches drive to get amputees into exercise

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A PERSONAL trainer is aiming to get more amputees involved in exercise.

Mark Bank, of The Fitness Bank gym, Ashbrooke, wants to prove that people with such disabilities can do just as much as anyone else.

Mark Bank from The Fitness Bank with amputee Paul Cummings.

Mark Bank from The Fitness Bank with amputee Paul Cummings.

“People can surprise themselves with what they can do,” he said.

“Machines in the gym can be adapted to meet their needs, and they can do everything that everyone else can.”

Mark, who has set up a number of training programmes including specialised plans for teenagers, is working with Paul Cummings, 53, who was born with an undeveloped hand.

“It is difficult to work out a plan because we have to have four or five different exercises and alternatives in case something doesn’t work,” said Mark.

“It’s trickier for someone with say one arm or leg, so as a trainer you have to have the knowledge and expertise to hit the spot you want to work.”

Dad of two Paul, of Whitburn, who owns Pac Motor Company, Monkwearmouth, said he is feeling the benefit of the training after just one month, having already lost one stone.

“The great thing about training with Mark is that he takes the time to work out exactly what will work for you,” he said.

“I am using all the machines and doing things the same as everyone else.

“Everything is very simple which makes it easier for me, and I’m getting the maximum benefit. When I was born my hand had not developed so I don’t think of myself as being disabled, but I would recommend the exercise to anyone with a disability, or anyone who just wants to get fit.”

Mark is keen to get more amputees training, as he says working out is beneficial for mental wellbeing, not just physical health.

“It would be good for more people to know that amputees can still exercise and get good results,” he said.

“For example, there are lots of soldiers coming back to Sunderland who may have lost limbs, and I would like to work with them.

“They wouldn’t feel as useless as they sometimes do after having an injury if they were still active.

“They can relieve stress and aggression, and learn to live with what they have because they can prove how their body still works.”

For more details, tel: 07946 466 365 or visit www.fitnessbank.co.uk.