‘Fitness Helped Me Find Myself After I Left My Arranged Marriage’

Kingston mum Saima Husain, 40, found her confidence – and her calling – in the gym.


I fell in love with sport in junior school – netball, softball, rounders… I even did Irish dancing. I was good at sport, and my classmates always picked me first for any team. I really loved that – it made me feel special. I grew up in quite a strict home and wasn’t really allowed to go out and play with my friends. When I was at school, playing sport, that was the only time I could really socialise and have fun.

I had an arranged marriage when I was 19, in December 1999. I had spent 5 minutes with him before we got married. We had two children by 2003. But my husband and I just weren’t compatible, and our relationship fell apart. I have nothing against arranged marriages, but we just weren’t the right fit. There was no real love there. By 2006, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I took my kids and left.

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I got a job as a sales assistant in a shoe shop. Being South Asian, as a single mum, I was very much frowned upon for leaving my husband. It was an incredibly tough time, and I battled with severe depression and anxiety.

I wanted something just for me – something that made me feel accomplished, like I was achieving something. So I joined my local gym. Exercise and fitness became my safe place – where I could be my own person.

It was the only thing I felt was mine.

I was still very self-conscious, so I started off on the cardio machines. They all faced the windows, so I didn’t have to look at anyone – or see anyone looking at me – while I exercised.

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But the trainers were all lovely, and there was one in particular who took me under his wing. He coaxed me away from the treadmill, gave me free 10-minute boxing sessions, and gave me a basic resistance circuit I could follow. For about 3 months I would just repeat the same circuit every single day!

Initially, I had the usual motivations; I wanted to lose a bit of weight and tone up, and after the first few months, my body did start to change (I dropped about 3 dress sizes) – but my outlook changed even more. I found that I was chasing goals, rather than a certain body type.

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‘Fitness Helped Me Build My Confidence After I Left My Arranged Marriage’

Kingston mum Saima Hussein, 40, found her confidence – and her calling – in the gym.



a woman standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: After leaving her tumultuous marriage, Kingston mum Saima Hussein, 40, found her confidence – and her calling – in fitness.


© Provided by Women’s Health UK
After leaving her tumultuous marriage, Kingston mum Saima Hussein, 40, found her confidence – and her calling – in fitness.

I fell in love with sport in junior school – netball, softball, rounders… I even did Irish dancing. I was good at sport, and my classmates always picked me first for any team. I really loved that – it made me feel special. I grew up in quite a strict home and wasn’t really allowed to go out and play with my friends. When I was at school, playing sport, that was the only time I could really socialise and have fun.

I had an arranged marriage when I was 19, in December 1999. I had spent 5 minutes with him before we got married. We had two children by 2003. But my husband and I just weren’t compatible, and our relationship fell apart. I have nothing against arranged marriages, but we just weren’t the right fit. There was no real love there. By 2006, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I took my kids and left.

I got a job as a sales assistant in a shoe shop. Being South Asian, as a single mum, I was very much frowned upon for leaving my husband. It was an incredibly tough time, and I battled with severe depression and anxiety.

I wanted something just for me – something that made me feel accomplished, like I was achieving something. So I joined my local gym. Exercise and fitness became my safe place – where I could be my own person.

I was still very self-conscious, so I started off on the cardio machines. They all faced the windows, so I didn’t have to look at anyone – or see anyone looking at me – while I exercised.

But the trainers were all lovely, and there was one in particular who took me under his wing. He coaxed me away from the treadmill, gave me free 10-minute boxing sessions, and gave me a basic resistance circuit I could follow. For about 3 months I would just repeat the same circuit every single day!

Initially, I had the usual motivations; I wanted to lose a bit of weight and tone up, and after the first few months, my body did start to change (I dropped about 3 dress sizes) – but my outlook changed even more. I found that I was chasing goals, rather than a certain body type.

I loved to run, so I decided a half marathon was the next goal – I’d never set myself such a big one. The training was so tough on so many levels – trying to fit in training while still being there for my kids wasn’t easy. But I did it – and that feeling was something I’d never felt before. Smashing that goal made me feel unstoppable.

After my marriage ended,

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COVID patient who was almost taken off life support just left hospital

  • A 26-year-old North Carolina coronavirus survivor returned home Tuesday after her heart repeatedly stopped beating for 30 minutes.
  • She had suffered complications including strokes, which have struck other young coronavirus patients for reasons doctors don’t fully understand. 
  • Doctors also don’t know why some critically ill young patients who were previously healthy die while others bounce back.  
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

When Tionna Hairston’s heart repeatedly stopped beating for 30 minutes, her doctors worried yet again that she wouldn’t make it. 

The 26-year-old in North Carolina was diagnosed with COVID-19 in May, and subsequently suffered a stroke that led to bleeding in her brain and blood clots in her heart that caused the cardiac arrest, the Winston-Salem Journal’s Richard Craver reported. 

The conditions left her unable to fully use her arms and legs, and she was put on a ventilator for more than two months. She also suffered kidney and liver failure. 

Doctors “thought that we should take her off of life support because she had no hope for life,” Hairston’s mom, Stacey Peatross said, according to Rasheeda Kabba, who covered the story for multiple local outlets. “They thought she would be a vegetable. She wouldn’t have any quality of life at all.” 

They were wrong. After family, friends, and strangers prayed for her, Hairston began improving. She entered rehab for more than a month, where she relearned basic activities of daily living, like eating and getting dressed. 

On Tuesday, she walked out of the hospital to continue rehab at home. She had been in medical care for 137 days. “My faith in God and the fact that I wanted to walk again” allowed her to survive, Hairston said. 

 

While she’s not fully recovered — she walks with a walker and has some memory loss — her doctors praised her recovery and the lessons it can teach others. 

First, people should know “20-somethings can get very sick from COVID and COVID complications,” Dr. James McLean, director of the Novant rehabilitation hospital in Winston-Salem, told Craver. “It’s not just older folks.” 

The other lesson is that Hairston “demonstrated that human spirit, that little flame inside that keeps us going, shows us that people can overcome things that we could never imagine.”

Other young COVID-19 patients have suffered strokes and neurological issues  

Doctors have been concerned to see strokes in young people with no prior history of strokes and, in some cases, mild or even asymptomatic COVID. 

In May, five young New Yorkers with COVID-19 were admitted to the hospital with life-threatening “large-vessel” strokes, or those caused by a blood clot that travels from the body into an artery in the brain, Business Insider’s Aylin Woodward previously reported. 

Doctors don’t yet understand exactly how COVID-19 influences stroke risk, but it may have to do with blood clots, which have appeared in other parts of coronavirus patients’ bodies, like the lungs and legs. 

COVID-19 has also been linked to a range of other neurological issues,

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