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Share Your Fitness Story: Getting Fit For Surgery

Toning suite

Toning Suite member and Hambleton District Council Cllr Bridget Fortune shares her experience of getting fit for surgery and the subsequent recovery/rehabilitation involved:

Cllr Bridget Fortune said “There comes a time in life when you realise your age is catching up with you and the aches and pains can be awful.
I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis and Arthritis 20 years ago, so I have had to keep moving as my joints got stiffer and the aches became more frequent and prolonged. My tomboy childhood and earlier lifestyle meant my knees took some bashing. Subsequently they became painful and often unreliable, giving way unexpectedly and causing falls with some whopping bruises.
An X-ray a couple of years ago and an appointment with a Consultant confirmed that it was likely I would need surgery, however there was a long waiting list and I would need to be patient. The Consultant suggested waiting as long as possible as it would need to be a ‘full knee replacement’.
I did work out regularly and walked a lot with my four dogs and I have been a regular user of the Toning Suite at Northallerton Leisure Centre since it opened in December 2017. The Consultant suggested that I keep this up and sensitively suggested a little weight loss might help as well. So, there it was - keep up the exercise and get rid of some excess baggage.
I strongly believe that regular use of the Toning Suite (and the support of the staff) helped me to get fit for the surgery and assisted my recovery from my knee replacement in record time.
The Health & Wellbeing Assistants in the Toning Suite are highly qualified and ensure you get the best from the equipment. The Toning machines offer passive exercise using resistance and structure to target specific muscle groups.
I have seen some amazing results and progression by fellow users too, who have a wide variety of medical limitations. It also boosts confidence when you can feel the benefits of the Toning equipment.
My full knee replacement was completed on 10 October 2020 at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton. I had a good experience and the staff were amazing.
A short while after the operation, once the feeling had returned to my legs and feet, I was up and out of bed walking down the corridor.  Once I had done my walk and shown that I could climb the stairs they test you on, I was given a sheet of 5 mandatory exercises. It was made clear that “If you don’t put the effort in then you will not get the best result”.
Sixteen days later at my first physio appointment they were so pleased with the outcome I was discharged. Four weeks later at the appointment with the Consultant, he was also very impressed with my recovery and I was discharged with the statement that seven weeks is one of the fastest turnarounds he has seen.  He saw me looking out of the window at the pouring rain and his parting shot was “Don’t worry, it won’t rust -it’s stainless steel”. He added that the continual exercise, including the use of the Toning Suite, had helped the recovery process and to keep it up.
In conclusion, preparing for surgery and for a healthier life in your advancing years in general is so worth it. I would recommend the Toning Suite and the team to anyone if you want to feel fitter, improve mobility and increase confidence”.

  • The Toning Suite which opened its doors in January 2018 is aimed at people who are keen to exercise but find it challenging due to weight or mobility problems. The ten-station facility includes a range of power assisted machines which are designed for use by anyone, regardless of age, mobility, weight or fitness level. Many people use the Toning Suite to help manage long term conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, arthritis and asthma. The equipment is also ideal for post-stroke treatment and post-operative rehabilitation.So, whether your goal is to reduce your blood pressure, lose weight or simply to get out and enjoy exercising in sociable surroundings, our health and wellbeing assistants are there to help. They offer every member valuable and continued one-to-one advice to encourage regular participation in exercise, to achieve quick, safe, and effective results and improve confidence levels. Find out more at:

Toning suite – Zest (hambleton.gov.uk)

Published: 17th August 2021