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Ashley's
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When I’m exercising regularly, I feel a sense of clarity and control over my life

When I was first featured in the campaign, I used to have a regular routine going to the gym around the corner from studio where I work. Since becoming freelance, I often don’t know where I’m going to be from week to week, so it’s much more difficult to stick with it. Unless I’m in the studio, I tend not to go. Money has also been a barrier for me recently while I’ve been studying. Having a low income has meant that I’ve done fewer paid yoga classes and less swimming. I’m motivated to get active though because I know how great I feel when I maintain my fitness.

I’ve gone through periods of my life where I can’t exercise as much, and I really notice a big difference in how I feel in my body and in my head. In contrast, when I’m exercising regularly, I feel a sense of clarity and control over my life, it keeps me making healthy food choices and comfortable in myself when I look in the mirror.

 I love the feeling of achy muscles after a hard workout, it makes me feel mentally powerful and that I’m pushing myself to continually improve.

I’ve now built up a set of exercises I like doing and can fit in with any of my routines, so I don’t tend to go a week without getting fairly active. This includes running, yoga at home, gym classes, my own gym workouts, tennis, riding horses and cycling all over London to get to and from all the random places I work. I prefer exercising in the morning, so I prioritise this time for exercise, then when it comes to the weekend, I put less pressure on myself to be active because I’ve usually already reached my exercise quota.

I started playing tennis, having lessons at weekends over the summer; I wanted to get into a sport that would be great fitness as well as challenge me technically and a skill that I could get competitive about once I got to a certain level, as well as the potential for socialising by joining a club. I’m not a great player but I love the feeling of whacking a ball and it is going in the right direction.

I’ve dropped spin classes because I cycle much more out and about, and I swim less because I don’t have a gym membership with a pool anymore. But I love exercising, and it is a massive part of my life. I’ve moved to different countries for long periods of time and a gym is the first thing I join. I couldn’t live my life without regularly being active.