Joining a gym helped me find myself, and provided an escape from the pit of depression


A fitter, happier Emma after joining the gym


A post from our Community Correspondent Emma Joanne Wilson @offwhitecoat

It is a common thing to hear people say that taking regular exercise is beneficial to mental wellbeing.  Sure, I could see the logic in it, of course but it never really clicked with me as something I could see myself doing.

Mid-May I joined a local gym and country club, committing to making my overall lifestyle considerably healthier and better managed. Working with the wonderfully encouraging and enthusiastic staff their I found my feet and got settled into an exercise programme.

It didn’t take long to find I was working out things that I really enjoyed, and I became hooked. Now, seven weeks on, I have dropped almost a stone in weight, and am nearly two dress sizes down.


Physically I am feeling the benefits, but most remarkably I have found that mentally I do actually feel a lot stronger during and immediately post workout. I find myself more at peace in the gym, and able to truly shut out the worries and troubles that are weighing me down.

This escape comes as a welcome relief from feeling trapped in a pit of anxiety ridden depression and my days feel all wrong without a good workout burn. Having never ever been a morning person, I now love getting up and being there for 6:30am opening and kick starting my day with some oomph.

If, like me, you still hold a sceptical view of the benefits exercise can add to your mental well being I would definitely urge you to find something that you enjoy and add a little into your weekly routine.

Personally I know I still have a way to go before I get my weight and diet under control and at a healthier level, but I am making progress and it is benefiting in such a knock on effect of ways that I don’t know how I coped before. In a matter of six to seven weeks I have taken control of my life again and begun to find myself.

Maybe you too, can find something you thought you had lost in yourself.

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