Laura's blog posts tagged with 'personal challenge'

Completing my second personal CFGT challenge



After attending a spin class, another of my Commit To Get Fit personal challenges was to write a blog post about my experience with exercise and depression. Spinning wasn’t as bad as I feared so I thought I would stay on my roll and do the scariest thing on my list…

I still don’t know what possessed me to sign up for a Zumba class in January 2012. It wasn’t a crazy new year’s resolution or because I love to dance (I am a very inhibited dancer) or because  I just had to try the latest fitness craze. But something did and whatever it was it turned out it was a good move to make.

Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence that this first trip to a sports centre coincided with my struggle to wean myself off anti-depressants. I had been battling for months to break my dependency but as much as I hated being on them, it was still just too difficult without them.

I don’t want to go into detail about my depression here but if you are fortunate enough not to have been afflicted by depression then this is one of the most accurate and brilliantly written (and illustrated) descriptions of depression I have read.

So what am I trying say here? Well, I truly believe that joining the sports centre and starting to take some classes helped me come off and stay off anti-depressants. I had been told and read about the positive links between exercise and mental well-being but since School I have always associated exercise with P.E. lessons and P.E. lessons, to me, were the most self-esteem crushing experiences ever. So why on earth would I try and do that to make myself feel better!?

But what I discovered through Zumba and now through boxercise, hula hooping, circuit training, aerobics, fencing and spinning (!) is that 1) it isn’t like being at School 2) it can be really fun and 3) that exercise provides the perfect head space to stop thinking.

It turns out it is impossible to have spiralling thoughts while you are sweating and it feels amazing to have that control back over thinking. It is a relief that hadn’t managed to find before, even with anti-depressants, and that I now can’t see myself being well without.

The fact I that look better than I ever have is an extremely welcome bonus but the biggest and most important benefit is that I feel balanced and in control again. And when I don’t – I know that whenever I need to, I can go to the sports centre and do something that will help me refocus.

Having come to the end of this piece I think I wanted to write this blog as part of CTGF partly to share my experience with others, but mainly to acknowledge and say a huge thank you to SussexSport. Without your inspiring staff, range of classes, great facilities and affordable membership I think I would still be struggling to regain my balance. THANK YOU and see you at lunchtime. 

31 days and 150 miles later



Trying to squeeze this last blog in before the end of today...

So 31 days and 150 miles later and I am pretty chuffed with what I achieved towards my personal goals.

I lost 6lb towards my goal weight- leaving a stubborn 5 more to shift! This now seems very achievable and after Terry’s nutrition talk I am starting to cut down on my carb intake- especially the amount of wheat in my diet. All I need now is the sunshine to stay so I can show off my hard work!  ; )

I tried spinning- didn’t die! have been back twice more since my inaugural class and noticed an improvement in the miles I covered in each session. Up hills are still hard though!

Had my gym programme made up by John who really put me through my paces. Now that classes are finishing at the sports centre I will be able to get stuck into the programme- certainly some tricky ones (like the Russian twist, T-star super set!). I was also introduced to using the foam rollers for stretching. Wow. I had no idea what my IT bands (iliotibial bands) were but I now know that I hadn’t been stretching them and they were tight!

The rollers have really helped and it now feels quite nice rather than something a kin to torture. I have also found the rollers have been great for my quads and hamstrings which don’t always feel like they have had the stretch they need. Sometimes it feels like I am walking on air after using the rollers.




I didn’t make it to a running class (there were too many other classes to go to!) but I did give yoga another shot and this time it really clicked. I’m not sure why yoga never felt enjoyable before but I was practically flying after my first yin yoga session a few weeks ago. I have been back to two more yoga sessions since (my first class with Karen today- which was great) and felt simply lovely after each one.  Yoga now feels like a good balance between the faster paced classes I do and I can’t wait until my next session on Friday.

One of the best things about the CTGF month has been meeting new people and seeing familiar at classes. I am now starting to see the appeal of exercise from a social perspective and this has carried over into my home life where I will now suggest going to the gym with my boyfriend rather than just going to the pub (we now go to the gym- then the pub!…) 

I didn’t get a chance to much blogging but I am really pleased that I managed to write my post about exercise helping with my depression. It was really to take time to think about how I have changed and what has helped make that change possible.

Going forward I think I will carry on with logging my exercise mileage. I love the sense of achievement it has given me at the end of each week, and now that the weather seems to be getting better I am looking forward to trying some new outdoor activities- first up paddle boarding and sea kayaking. See you at the beach!