Paul's story: "I'd recommend exercise to anyone suffering with mental health problems"

I have suffered with depression and anxiety since 1997 and have been on medication, had counselling and taken CBT courses but by far the best method of controlling my conditions has been exercise. 

In 2010, I lost my father due to cancer, had redundancy from a job that I loved doing and more recently went through a horrible divorce. Needless to say I was probably at my worst I had ever been and started to consider giving up on life. With the help and support of my family and GP, I started exercising and really enjoyed Zumba. I was the only male participant in the class and started to gain my confidence again but unfortunately, the Zumba classes became too busy.

I then decided to try some other form of exercise and when I saw a charity fun run advertised I started to undertake running.  Since November 2012, I have really enjoy running due to the buzz you get at the end of the run and it gives you an amazing workout.  If I have a down day or have had to deal with some difficult people during the day, it's great to get out on the road and take the frustration out when running. 

Apart from my physical and mental health improving, it feels great to be taking part in charity runs and raising much needed money plus you get a medal at the end of it!

My future is finally starting to look more positive and I would recommend to anyone suffering with mental health issues/problems to do some form of exercise.  Having recently completed a 5k race, I'm now looking to undertake a 10k race later this year and will be slowly increasing my distance with my end goal of entering the London, New York and Paris marathons in the years ahead.