I'd like to share my YMCA story.
I only started at the gym when I turned 40. I was slightly overweight, pudgy and not at all fit. I was also a single parent on income support and wouldn't have been able to join a gym if it hadn't been for the brilliant YMCA concession.
Being a single parent with very little money meant that I was rather lonely and inclined to suffer from depression. As a not very successful writer, this was made worse by long hours spent alone when my daughter was at school.
By joining the gym, I noticed that my depression began to lift and - as a bonus - I got a lot fitter.
I have now been a member for nearly 15 years and although my attendance is poor (I'd love to go twice a week but am lucky if I made it only once), I would suffer greatly if I couldn't have my workout as often as I can make it.
I have also had several physical problems (oh, the joys of getting older!) with my back, my hips and my feet. On two occasions, I was unable to go to the gym for months on end because I could hardly walk. I also had a very painful two years with a frozen shoulder; the last six years have been an endless round of pain!
However, I have persisted, and while I am not your fantastically fit, toned, muscly superwoman and don't use the vast array of facilities available at the gym, I know that I absolutely can't live without my workout!
My weight is excellent; the two fat rolls around my middle that I had when I was 40 have long since disappeared; the Cross Trainer has completely cured my frozen shoulder; the treadmill is an utter delight on my sore feet. My depression has lifted considerably and I am as active as I can be.
I particularly like the fact that I am totally left alone at the gym. No one ever bothers me. It has become a lot busier in recent years with a different range of clientele, yet I'm always able to find the machines I want to use.
I love walking for my health but in summer, living in the centre of London, walking is horrible - too much pollution, heat, humidity (and people!) so the treadmill is a godsend.
I quite often feel that the YMCA has saved my life and I would heartily recommend to anyone who is older. One doesn't have to do a complicated workout to feel good!