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Photo provided by Sandy Marris

Sandy Facts:

Age: A very young 61
Lives: Gorgeous riverside at Shepperton on Thames 
Born: Henley on Thames 
Started snowboarding aged 40
Loves a party and dancing on tables or bars when the opportunity arises
Practices Hot Yoga and finds this keeps her back mobile and muscles strong
Lives with her 2 boys now in their 20s and they do all the heavy lifting

Paddle boards in the summer from her house on the Thames - great for core strength!   
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Photo provided by Sandy Marris 

From broken dancer to bionic artist

A serious injury cut Sandy’s dance career short but fitness, ballet, the Spice Girls and snowboarding were the next step!

Sandy Marris

My parents were very sporty and my mother took me to ballet classes when I was 2 because I had broken my leg and walked with a limp. Dancing became my love and ever since i can remember I wanted to be a ballet dancer. 

Because I was very talented, my dance teacher told my parents I should be in a vocational school for ballet and dance full time. 

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I went to Bush Davies school in East Grinstead  when I was 10 to train full time as a dancer. I was a border and left when I was 17, by then a fully trained dancer of a very high standard. I thrived when performing in high profile roles. Breaking my ACL ligament in the West End show Starlight Express when I was 31 ended  my professional dance career. 

I re trained as a fitness instructor and became very sought after, eventually headhunted to train the Spice Girls for their first world tour. After that I then went on to teach ballet and have my second child. Snowboarding then became a passion at age 40 and after many slam dunks my back was in a bad way. My feet were also in a lot of pain due to years of miss-use so I had three foot operations to correct the problems.

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I had to give up teaching ballet and to my horror lived in Crocks, YUK!!! At the time i was also running a model agency from home - which I started when pregnant with my first child - when I couldn’t teach anymore due to pubic symphysis. I was busy 24/7, running the agency and small kids was all I had time for. But I was still a regular at the gym doing aerobic classes most days and walking my English pointer everyday for miles. My life was like a military operation to the hour.

In my 50s I realised my body was giving up on me. Problems stemmed from foot to knees to hips and back. I was always in the osteopath, chiropractor or physio. Snowboarding had to stop and I took up skiing. Nuts... YES but I loved it. 

Busting another ACL  dancing around a pole in a night club. I was injured again. Then in later years another ACL , skiing. I lost control and literally skied off the mountain and this time had to have a sort of rebuild in my right knee.That was number 3.

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Photo provided by Sandy Marris

Still not satisfied with life, I left my partner of 23 years and decided to build the house I now live in, moving into a mobile home on the site while this was being built. Looking after my elderly father and helping him for a few years took yet another toll on my body and how I was now able to move. When he passed I could hardly walk and needed both hips replaced due to osteoporosis, bone on bone and 4 bulging discs from lifting him and heavy things for him, moving him to my house then to a home. 

With all that gone I decided I had to get mobile again. Dad bought me a hot tub so I could use that when I was very bad. I think of him and miss him every day. He was always my rock.
My hips have now been done and my bulging discs cured from decompression treatment and chiropractors. I was told I would need a back op but I do not want to back on the operating table and now use the Dermactiva creams when I am aching.

I love my wild meadow and gardening but ache afterwards if I bend down too much and get sore thumb joints. I am now a full time artist & painter and my hands hurt when I do too much so I use the cream to help eliminate the dull aches.

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I also love my English pointer and walk for an hour and half every day come rain or shine. Being an active person I couldn’t be with out remedies. This cream has helped me sleep and I use it when I’ve done too much. For an old girl (almost bionic!) I’m now ok. Getting older is not easy when you have used your body in an excessive way all your life and the aches and pains catch up with you eventually. At one point for about a year I couldn’t get out of a chair with out groaning. I was like an 80 year old. My Dad walked better than me and he was 93. As Sophia Loren says. Stop making old lady noises! 

Look after your body because it’s like a car, ignore it and it will only get worse. Treat it with respect. Without our health  its hard to do the things you want to do.

It made me very sad that I couldn’t walk the distances or even cook an evening meal without being in pain. My boys commented on my groaning and getting down the stairs in the morning was  a ‘leaning on the banister’ job. I’m fine now thanks to the fantastic surgeons and looking for a new adventure …...Love. I been on my own for 7 years now and now have the time to find love to keep me on my toes when my boys finally leave the family home. Being active again I feel younger and not embarrassed anymore about the way I move. I have many funny stories to tell, life has been rich, creative and so far very satisfying. 

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