An INSPIRATIONAL disabled woman has told how hitting the gym has given her more independence.

Hazel Reid, who has cerebral palsy, said that making exercise part of her routine has stopped her muscles wasting away and profoundly improved her mental health.

Hazel told the Herald: “Before I started coming to the gym I didn’t really do anything physical other than wheeling my chair about.

“My muscles were wasting away, my legs were getting skinnier and skinnier.

“I thought, I’m going to end up stuck in the wheelchair.

“Since I’ve been going, I’ve been able to walk up to Dalry centre and back to the fitness studio.

“I’m feeling physically better and mentally a lot brighter.”

Hazel has found the support to try new things at MRC Fitness Studio in Dalry.

Malcolm, the gym’s 83-year-old founder, has been giving Hazel a helping hand.

He has been inspired by Hazel’s attitude, said daughter Lorraine, who runs the studio.

For Hazel, the feeling is mutual.

She said: “We came up with the challenge that I’m going to try every machine in here.

“My favourite is the pull-up machine, I never thought I’d be able to climb up on to it but now I can.”

Hazel explained that cerebral palsy is a wide spectrum and, just like others with different disabilities, not everyone will like what she likes.

But she urged others to give it a go.

She said: “Find a nice, supportive environment.

“I don’t mind asking for help and they’ve been great in here, but it’s good to get to the stage that you can do it by yourself.

“Independence is so important in any way you can get it and there will always be things in your life you’ll need assistance with.

“But it’s just been such a boost for my self-esteem, being able to do the same thing as everybody else.”

Hazel is studying accounting at West College in Paisley and is looking forward to job hunting after the summer once her exams are finished.

But she fully intends to keep working out, not least because she has found an environment that makes her happy.

For Hazel, the MRC group are friends, which means going to the gym is a positive rather than a chore.