How the Gym Helped My Mental Health | Waterlane Leisure Centre, Lowestoft*

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with depression and very recently with PTSD. With my mental health issues, I also suffer with memory loss which makes day-to-day living extremely difficult.

I then had to decide which path I wanted to take in terms of treatment. I considered medication, therapy and even neither. I immediately went on medication and it helped, but it hasn’t been helping as much as it should. I then got referred for therapy and in between it all, I was figuring out some changes that I could make to my lifestyle that could potentially help to.

I have been unhappy with my weight for a few years now and completely unrelated, I joined the gym and decided to get healthier. After a couple months, I realised that since going to the gym I had been feeling much better.

Yes, I still need medication and other treatment alongside and I’m in no way telling you that running on the treadmill will ‘fix’ everything. Everyone has their own self care and what works for them, so I’m going to talk about my experience of why it’s helped me in the hopes it can help someone else too.

sentinel leisure trust waterlane leisure centre

Even though I have only recently really been diagnosed with mental health problems, I have been suffering in silence for longer without even realising. I had my ‘normal’ which was by far normal and it took some changes in my life to bring it all out.

Most days, I have no energy or motivation and if I didn’t have my little one I most probably wouldn’t even get out of bed. I also suffer with memory loss, which makes running a house and being a stay at home parent so much more difficult, and that’s without factoring in that I run two businesses and have a job too!

Last year I signed up for a gym membership but as I said above, admittedly this had nothing to do with tackling my mental health… to begin with. However, my reasons for staying and going have now changed. I felt a massive improvement and found that going in the morning set me up for a great day.

What Positive Effects Does It Have on Me?

As our little one goes to preschool in the mornings, I tend to start my day off in the gym. It’s a great way to kick start my day as I then feel energised and ready for the day ahead. It immediately puts me in a good mood and I have less down moments during the day afterwards.

When I’m working out, I’m alone in my thoughts as I listen to music or watch TV on the screens and I can just think while getting on with my workout. It’s become my ‘me time’. After my session I walk out feeling like I’ve accomplished something and I’m moving towards my goal weight too – win, win!

gymmember

Why You Should Sign Up!

Most of us see being active as something we should be doing, but it shouldn’t feel that way at all. You need to want to do it because of the benefits you feel/see, otherwise you just won’t keep it up.

It’s not for everyone and of course it won’t help everyone’s mental health, as everyone’s experiences are completely different. But it worked for me and maybe it can work for you too! It’s worth a shot, right?

I honestly didn’t think that it would work for me and I thought I would be dragging myself each morning, but the truth is, I can’t wait to get down there each day.

Which Gym Do I Go To?

The gym I chose to go to is Waterlane Leisure Centre but not only because it’s my local gym, but because it’s the best around. Sentinel Leisure Trust have put a focus on having a membership with them can be beneficial for moods. When I signed up, I was offered a ‘wellbeing’ package which gives 6 free 30-minute personal training sessions which are one to one with a fitness instructor – these sessions are tailored to your own specific requirements. I found having a one on one session at the beginning really boosted my confidence and got me ready.

Since I’ve had my membership I’ve also seen the centre go under two changes with their equipment to make sure that we’re getting the best possible. The gym is fitted with all the latest technology, including their smart membership card which can be loaded with your personalised workout plan (that’s created by one of the personal trainers during your one on one) so that it can tell you which machines to use etc.

By signing up with Waterlane Leisure Centre, I also get unlimited access to all 5 leisure centres which includes swimming, spa and fitness classes, which I make use of for most of the week!

Have you found that being active has helped your mental health? What other ways have you found work for you?

Sometimes, we can also benefit from some form of therapy, which I have also looked into and considered. Why not check out Better Help, who are an online therapy help site.

*DisclaimerThis post is in partnership with Sentinel Leisure Trust.

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