Name: Katy Martins
What is your ‘why’ for exercising?
Running has always been a big part of my life, but when I lost my father and running partner at the age of 12, I lost the bug. I found myself in the dark for several years and couldn’t see the light.
Falling back in love with running was a way of accepting and living with my grief, understanding that each step was progress. I began to find comfort in the solitude of running, and it allowed me to connect with my father. Perhaps now I understand why he used to run.
It is no surprise that running is great for my physical fitness, but in fact, it’s the mental fitness I gain from running that I benefit from. Running gives me structure when I feel lost and freedom when I feel restrained, but most importantly, it gives me purpose. They say, don’t run away from your problems. But running can teach you how to run with them. To ride the highs and lows of life and know that it can and will get better.
Everyone has a reason. Throughout my life and in my darkest times, I learned to be strong alone. My why is perhaps to do her justice and show her why she chose to carry on. I’m lucky to have something that makes me feel so alive.
What advice would you give to someone around using physical activity to improve their mental health?
When darkness is consuming you and you can’t get out of bed in the morning, the last thing you want to hear is to try exercising. I get it. Start with what feels achievable and try to find a form of exercise you enjoy. If you can learn to connect moving your body with gratitude for how it makes you feel, it won’t always feel like a chore. Not every day will be easy, but that’s what makes the good days that little bit better.