During my recent relapse of severe depression in July 2007, due to various reasons my condition was unstable despite medications, and I was advised by many kind friends to do regular exercise besides taking medications. My physician, Doctor Pauline Sim and my pastor, Pastor JJ, both also encouraged me to do regular exercise. They suggested brisk walkings. I tried to do so but as I was still very depressed, I didn’t have much motivation or energy to walk for long. I also found it difficult to find a suitable place to go for walks. I didn’t feel like travelling anywhere. Near my home there is a very big and nice Garden but I dare not go alone for fear of safety. So I tried walking around my housing estate neighbourhood. But I found it very stressful to watch out for bicycle riders, traffic lights, cars, etc.
My Pastor suggested that I tried more vigorous exercise. He mentioned some exercising facilities near to some housing estates. He also suggested joining a gym if there is one.By the merciful providence of God, an all women’s gym just started near my home in Nov 2007. I have joined this all women’s gym, All Shapes Ladies Fitness Centre for a special promotion trial of 3 months from mid-Nov 2007 to mid-Feb 2008, in order to build up my body and strength it. For the special promotion trial, I only need to pay S$150 for 3 months (ie. S$50 per month) and I am allowed to use their facilities at any time between 7.00am to 9.00pm daily. There is a trainer throughtout the day.
I usually go early in the morning from about 7.30am to 8.30am, Monday to Friday, whenever possible. I do brisk walking (and now some jogging as well) for 45 minutes to strengthen my heart and build up my stamina. I also do some weight training to strengthen my muscles. Sometimes I use their stationary bicycle or cross-country ski. I have also tried their circuit training once.
I am grateful to All Shapes’ Director - Nelam, Gym Supervisor - Wani and other trainers and members of All Shapes for the kindness and encouragements to do exercise regularly. They knew about my illness and encouraged me that regular exercise will help my illness to improve. They do have members who are also suffering from depression and other illness such as cancer, etc and their health have improved through regular exercise
I thank God for His faithfulness and provision of this means in my restoration. When I first joined All Shapes, I was still very depressed and stayed at home most of the time. I dreaded going out and meeting people. But the motivation to get well and the encouragements of Nelam and the trainers at All Shapes, gave me the courage to step out of my home daily to get some fresh air and to exercise. Meeting the trainers and other members at All Shapes helps me out of isolation, and slowly ease me into the society again.I am beginning to appreciate the good effects of regular exercise. It not only strengthens my body, it also strengthens my mind. A few days after going to the gym, I began to experience symptoms of hypomania. I was able to reduce the dosage of my anti-depressant shortly after I started the regular exercise. Now after 2 months of working out at the gym, I am able to go off the anti-depressant. Thank God!
All Shapes Ladies Fitness Centre also has another branch at Joo Chiat besides the Woodlands branch near my home. The owner, the trainers and members are all women. Their emphasis is on health and healthy living, and not so much on losing weight or looking good. The latter are the bonuses.
Their charges are also very reasonable and affordable to most people with average income. If you or someone else is interested to know more about them, do visit their website at:
I also began to enjoy brisk walking around my neighbourhood and walks in gardens or beach. I am beginning to enjoy God’s creations in many wonderful ways.
Recently, I also began to enjoy photography as well. When I go for my brisk walk or go to the beach or to the garden, I like to take photographs of natures and I am learning to appreciate the beauties of God’s creations Now I realized what I missed in the past when I was too busy and no time to walk.
1) All Shapes @ Woodlands
268 Woodlands Centre Road #04-09
Woodlands Point Singapore 738931
Tel: 6366 8687
Fax: 6366 8418
2) All Shapes @ Joo Chiat
20 Joo Chiat Road #04-01
Tel: 6440 9308
Fax: 6440 9309
My Coping Strategies:
4a. ExerciseCorrecting faulty thoughts patterns