We all know that being active and going to the gym should be part of a healthy lifestyle, but how many do we know actually bother? And how many people do we know who struggle with mental health are regularly active? Probably even less!
Because the truth is, those who have mental health issues often don’t even feel like getting out of bed in the morning, let alone running for 30 minutes on a treadmill! I won’t bore you with all the medical talk of why exercise can help, instead I’ll talk through my experience of why it’s helped me in the hopes that it can help someone else too.
I have had depression and PTSD for around 5-7 years and most days I don’t want to do anything. I want to sleep the entire day, not work and definitely not leaving the house. Some days, I don’t even feel up to getting dressed! But with a little one to look after and work to do, I simply cannot afford to, so I force myself through each day. But going to the gym has made each day a lot easier to face.
Last year I signed up for a gym membership with my partner but admittedly this had nothing to do with tackling my mental health, rather losing weight. However, as I started going to the gym 4 times a week I felt a massive improvement and it became just as much about my mental health as it was my physical health.
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 at around 8am. It’s a great way to kick start my day as I then feel energised and ready for the day ahead when leaving. 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!
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.
*Disclaimer – I’m working in partnership with Sentinel Leisure Trust and this is a collaborative post. All honest opinions & views are my own.