61 year old, Steve Morley from Suffolk recently qualified as a fitness instructor through the multi-award winning InstructAbility programme. Stephen is one of many newly qualified fitness instructors who are proving that age, disability or health issues need not be a barrier to a career in the fitness industry.

At the age of 58, Steve had a heart attack whilst competing in a seven mile race. Having been a runner for a number of years, Steve had always enjoyed good health, so his heart attack really knocked him for six. Would he still be able to run? Would he still even be able to remain active? Fortunately, Steve’s positive attitude has enabled him to not only remain active but also to complete several Marathons and in 2015 he plans to compete in his first Ultra Marathon.

However, Steve’s heart attack did cause him to take a long hard look at what he did for a living. Working for a local authority often meant working long hours and involved him in stressful situations. Steve started to think about the possibility of reducing his working hours or even taking early retirement. Then one day he saw an advertisement for the InstructAbility Programme. He applied to join the course and was delighted to be accepted.

The project was originally created by Aspire, the spinal injury charity and YMCAfit, the leading fitness training provider, to enable unemployed, disabled people to train as gym instructors. The newly qualified instructors then work to engage more disabled people in fitness sessions. Steve said,

“I love exercise; it makes you feel better mentally as well as physically. After my heart attack people were often trying to wrap me in cotton wool and look after me. Now, thanks to the InstructAbility program I’m in a position to look after other people and help them to feel good.”

Since qualifying Steve has recently begun his industry work placement at The Inspire Fitness Gym in Mildenhall as part of the programme.  Fitness Manager Rob Smith at Inspire Fitness said,

“Inspire Fitness are delighted to support the InstructAbility program to provide opportunities for disabled gym instructors to gain experience in the fitness industry. Steve is particularly keen to help older adults and people with disabilities to get active and I believe he has the ability to inspire people to do just that. We are inviting disabled people in the local area to book some free taster sessions in the gym with Steve this month.”