After having a nervous breakdown at the age of 28, Leanne Willoughby from York was looking at exercise as a way to combat her problems with anxiety and depression. Finding the gym repetitive and boring, Leanne decided to join British Military Fitness this summer.
“I found the gym so draining – it’s just the same thing every day. When I Googled ‘exercise for depression and anxiety’, I read about someone who had had a similar experience to me and had found BMF to be really helpful.”
Leanne got in touch with Stu, the instructor, before her first trial session, who was able to reassure her that the class would be suitable. She brought her mum along on the first day, for confidence, and enjoyed it so much she kept coming back.
“I try to go at least once a week, sometimes twice. I always come back knackered but it’s just so much fun. My mum still goes too but we don’t always go to the same classes – she doesn’t love the mud so much but I love it. Being outdoors and doing different things with different instructors all the time… it’s really fun.”
Leanne, who also plays netball on a regular basis, has certainly felt the positive impact of BMF on her health. Despite tiring easily at the start, doing it more often has helped her – although she still finds sit-ups difficult! She also says it’s really helping her manage her anxiety, and people around her have noticed the changes.
“I’m a shy person, but I’ve made friends there easily because everyone just talks to everyone. It was great on the first night because Stu just introduced us to everyone and they all said hello. If I’ve had a bad day, going to BMF makes me feel better. I never dread going, and even if it’s cold I don’t mind… I’ve got my hat, gloves and fur-lined leggings!”
Instructor Stu says, “I’ve seen such a difference in Leanne – just the way she interacts with others and how she gets stuck into the sessions. I’m pretty sure that she would agree that BMF – being a mix of exercise and socialising – has definitely been beneficial.”
“My advice to anyone like me who’s thinking of doing BMF is: Definitely go for it,” Leanne says. “It’s amazing. What’s good about it? Everything.”
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