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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. 

Power & Control



controlled and composed

Yesterday on campus we found a secret suntrap, the tennis courts up at the sports complex. Despite being freezing in our offices and the threat of rain throughout the day the sun was shining splendidly for our tennis taster session. Before Simon came down to join us on the courts to give us some much needed advice we decided to hit a few balls over the net ourselves. This proved quite amusing, as control was a problem for all of us. I seemed to be constantly hitting it over the fence; some people got the ball on other courts and none of us actually kept it in at all.

Luckily Simon found us and began to work on some of these problems. The main aspect we were all working on was control of the ball and not just taking a swipe at any old ball coming towards us.  Simon also made us practice our forehand and backhand which enabled us to think about the shots and hence have more composure and control.  Gwenda from our team turned out to be a great player and hardly needed any coaching at all.  Massive thanks to Simon who was great and put up with me trying to hit him with a speeding tennis ball on several occasions. We all really enjoyed the session and have arranged another one with a view to having a few games in the future.

Gwenda tennis

nicola and alex tennis

Alex playing tennis