Janice is a member of Ross swimming pool and gym in Herefordshire. Four years ago, Janice was feeling down and generally grumpy with life. She had fallen into that all too common spiral of feeling too self-conscious about her body to actually go to the gym and make any real change. After some persuasion, she plucked up the courage to do a class. Janice hasn’t regretted a moment since. Here, she tells the story in her own words:
After undergoing surgery in 2012 I was left feeling very unhappy with myself. I was 18 stone, unable to walk very far or do any activity (other than knitting or reading) without being out of breath and I was no longer able to convince myself that “big” people are happy.
It took nearly 6 months to talk myself into doing something about it, but eventually, I started to diet and do some exercise. At first, this was walking everywhere to build up some confidence. But in August 2013 my daughter persuaded me to try joining the gym and do some classes, so I joined the Halo swimming pool and gym in Ross.
My first class was aqua aerobics. I can still remember how nervous and worried I felt about getting into a pool with so many people who would judge and laugh at me for my size and unfitness. I needn’t have worried. The class members were such a lovely group of people, all friendly and supportive from the start. I was given my orientation in the gym and a starter program.
Again I was so nervous about being on these exercise machines in front of so many “fit” people but knew I would have to keep going if I was going to achieve my aims and tried to make sure I went at times when the gym would be quiet. It didn’t take long to meet some lovely people, some with the same problems, and of course, the staff members were always encouraging and supportive.
Four years later, aged 62 plus, I’m 8 stone lighter, consider myself reasonably fit and enjoy going to the gym and studio so much that I sometimes think I should take a sleeping bag in with me! I still attend aqua aerobics and go to the gym but also take part in many other classes and activities. I love spin, TRX, kettlebells, pilates, fitball, yoga and other classes like legs bums and tums.
Now, my wardrobe mostly consists of exercise clothing in bright colours because I no longer feel so embarrassed about my shape that I try to hide in black or beige. There are still some very flabby bits but it doesn’t matter because I now realise that no one is looking at them! When we are in classes or the gym we are concentrating on the exercise, enjoying the company and the incredible feeling of being fitter and healthier than before. I mix with people aged 18 to 80 who all have the same goal - enjoy life, enjoy exercise. I have so much more energy to enjoy other things as well and am thrilled to have recently become a grandmother. Now that’s a whole new set of exercises to get stuck into!
This has been written after attending a legs bums and tums session in the morning and later this evening I will be attending Spin. That means I don’t need to feel guilty about enjoying Sunday lunch and a few glasses of wine yesterday!
It’s never too late to kick-start your fitness!
Halo is getting behind Public Health England’s One You Campaign, offering anyone aged 40+ the chance to exercise for FREE in our centres in Herefordshire, Shropshire or Highworth every Wednesday until the 27th of September. Simply visit our news article on One You Wednesday for more information.