Helen's flex+ journey

By Helen Reynolds

The beginning of a dodgy knee

My knee troubles started after six months of enforced bed rest as a teenager because of a health issue. On my return to school, laden with text books, I twisted awkwardly to sit down on the school bus. My knee ‘popped’ out and the P.E. teacher had to carry me out to the ambulance. It was like an episode of Casualty brought to life.

Despite physiotherapy, my knee was never right again. Dislocations kept happening. The most memorable was coming off a button ski lift in France, lying in the snow shouting ‘Aide-moi!” Finally a wonderful Australian guy summoned help and I was carted off the mountain.

Yoga, fascia and a decade in the Lake District

In my mid-twenties I discovered yoga which really helped strengthen the ligaments around my knee. In my thirties, someone recommended their structural integrationist to me to help with shoulder ache. By manipulating the fascia tissue around my muscles, he dramatically improved my posture.

I spent a decade in Cumbria, hiking the length and breadth of the Lake District. I did the Keswick to Barrow 40 miles in a day walk and Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walking trip across three National Parks to mark my 40th birthday. I thought I’d finally conquered my knee troubles. Sadly, this wasn’t the case.

Lock down, seize up

I know most of us seized up during the first Covid lockdown here in the UK, but I seemed to be worse than most. Now living in York, I tried Zoom yoga sessions but they weren’t the same. The one hour of designated exercise just didn’t make up for wandering around the beautiful city centre and walks along the Yorkshire coast.

A jog around Paris with Sarah Millican and Pete Tong

Desperate for the illusion of movement, I started using a mini-rebounder, watching walking videos on YouTube on my TV. I took up the Couch to 5K challenge, selecting the hilarious comedian Sarah Millican as my coach. DJ Pete Tong provided the soundtrack through the BBC Sounds app and together we would virtually ‘jog’ around Santorini, Stockholm and Paris.

Unfortunately I could never get past week 5 of the training programme as I would ache so badly. I swapped to a mini-stepper machine, returned to week 1 and things improved for a while. But again the pain would increase to the point of not wanting to exercise. It wasn’t just my knees, but my ankles, my hips and even the soles of my feet. And I was only in my forties!

Taking a chance on collagen

When I came across the idea of taking collagen supplements, I was initially sceptical. Wasn’t it just the stuff celebrities injected into their lips in the early 2000s, leading to ‘Trout Pout’? But an American YouTuber I followed kept recommending it. Intrigued, I started researching its availability in the UK.

It was Jen’s Returning to running blog that caught my attention. Then, on reading how Flex+ had been specifically designed to help improve connective tissue, everything the structural integrationist had said about the importance of healthy fascia, ligaments and tendons came flooding back. I decided to place an order.

WD-40 for my joints

After just two weeks of taking Flex+ I ached less after exercising. After a month, the “Ouch! I can barely move” blues the day after a long walk were banished. It was like WD-40 for my joints. I went back to exploring the world through YouTube and on my stepper machine. I’d visited Venice in 2019, so my favourite routine is to put on a kayak trip video. It’s like I’m ‘walking on water’ on the Grand Canal.

Excellent customer service

As a monthly Flex+ subscriber, I was devastated when Royal Mail delivered a canister that looked like it had been run over by a truck. However after one email to the Pura team, a replacement package swiftly arrived, along with a thoughtful handwritten note.

Breakfast routine tip

As I’m not a coffee drinker, I needed to find another liquid into which to mix in my Flex+ collagen powder. I fill a mug half-way with milk, add one scoop of Flex+ and stir with a fork, add the next scoop and stir again. I then pour this blend over my breakfast cereals.

Friends may joke about my devotion to my “magic white powder”, but I wouldn’t be without it.