March 2, 2016, by Laura Estrop
Debbie’s getting active for Mental Health Day!
Debbie Butler is an associate member of staff at the University and she’s looking to make her mark during Healthy U Week (29 February – 4 March).
Over the last six months, Debbie has been using exercise and the University sports facilities to help manage her mental health illness and physical impairments with some positive results. She currently access the fitness suites and swimming pool around two to three times a week.
“The reason I started going to the gym [is] because I’d heard a lot about how exercise can improve your mood. I also wanted to use the University sports facilities because I had heard that they were accessible and that the staff was really helpful and friendly.
Initially I used the sports buddying system because I felt that I wasn’t able to go on my own and that really helped me in getting over my anxieties around using new facilities. Having the support of fitness instructors also encouraged me to go on a more regular basis. I also found it was good fun and I laughed a lot while I was working out – which made me want to go more.
Going to the gym made me feel more a part of the University, more confident, helped my mood and on days that I didn’t want to go but went, I felt so much better for having gone. My balance has become so much better, as have my fitness levels – I can even walk upstairs now without too much pain, which is something I hadn’t been able to do for a long while.”
Improved fitness, mobility and mood have inspired Debbie to do a 12-hour sponsored walk on mental health awareness day, to raise money for the Mental Health Research UK at the Jubilee Fitness Suite.
“I want to do the walk, because I wanted to put mental health and sport on the agenda and raise awareness of the benefits that exercise can have on people with mental health illness. I hope that my example will inspire more people to get active and help the charity to do more research and ultimately benefit students with mental health illness.”
Debbie will be doing her walk from 8am to 8pm on Thursday 3 March at the Jubilee Fitness Suite. Please come down and support her if you have a spare 30 minutes or donate to this very worthy cause here.