A 52-year-old Melton man who has suffered from severe depression says his condition eased massively when he began exercising at the town’s leisure centre.
Stephen Allsop said he could barely bring himself to leave the house and felt constantly tired.
He was diagnosed with depression in 2006 and constantly felt low and isolated from society.
But six years ago he joined Waterfield Leisure Centre and has experienced life-changing benefits from regular gym sessions as well as a new-found love of distance running, completing 10 marathons and 19 half-marathons.
Stephen said: “Before I began my fitness journey, I would feel unmotivated to leave the house and constantly tired.
“I started going to the gym four times a week and I would do a mix of strength and cardiovascular training.
“Training for a long-distance event provided me with something to focus on and reduced the feelings of depression.”
He said meeting new people through taking exercise classes had a big effect on improving his mental health, as well as helping him shed three stone.
“I now attend five to eight group exercise classes a week and the classes have helped to significantly ease the feelings of depression. I get a buzz of excitement before each session, and I have made some good friends along the way,” added Stephen.
“Since I joined Waterfield Leisure Centre I have improved my health and wellbeing, and the symptoms of depression have reduced significantly.
“I am more alert and energetic, and more confident.”
Abigail Grewcock, fitness manager at the centre, said: “Stephen is a fantastic inspiration to colleagues and members at the centre, and the local community.
“He walks in with a huge smile on his face, before every class and his personality is infectious. I would encourage anyone who is looking to improve their health and wellbeing to visit our colleagues at the centre to find out the fantastic ways that we can support them on their journey.”
Everyone Active, which operates the Dalby Road leisure centre, has teamed up with mental health charity, Mind, in a bid to raise at least £100,000 with a series of fundraising activities.