Hallam student’s Happiness Bootcamp boosts Sheffield’s mental health

4th December 2020

Sheffield Hallam student Aimee Browes has channeled her passion for exercise into improving the mental health of fellow students and the local community in Sheffield.

The 22-year-old qualified fitness instructor, who is currently studying for her postgraduate degree in sports and exercise psychology, opened her own fitness studio The Happiness Bootcamp in the heart of the city during the summer of 2020.

With classes focusing on exercise for mental wellbeing, she has had an overwhelming response from people wanting to exercise to boost their mood.

The benefits of exercising to keep her mental health stable is not new to Aimee. As a child and teenager, she suffered from a crippling anxiety disorder which led to her quitting her A Levels.

Instead, she went to college to study and gained a Level 3 Sport Science qualification. The regular exercise helped to manage her anxiety, which then led to a degree in Psychology at Sheffield Hallam where she received lots of extra support, helping her to manager her studies, deadlines and sitting exams, and led to her staying on to study for her postgraduate degree.

During her degree Aimee set up classes for other students to help improve their mental wellbeing. As the pandemic unfolded Aimee found there was an increased surge of people wanting to take up exercise, especially from those stuck indoors who realised how beneficial it could be, particularly female students and young people.

She said: “Exercise has helped me massively - it is the best therapy I’ve ever used. What’s so rewarding is knowing that people who are coming to my classes are in the situation I was in before, and it’s so lovely seeing people leaving and feeling better about themselves.

“During lockdown, The Happiness Bootcamp has been showing people that they are never alone in their battles.”

Aimee set up affordable group online classes in HIT training, boxercise, rowing, stretching and meditation as well as face-to-face outdoor personal training for individuals.

The demand for classes and the easing of the lockdown meant Aimee could fulfill her dream to open her own studio alongside business partner Laura Gray.

By making classes affordable to younger people and easily accessible online The Happiness Bootcamp has continued to thrive during the pandemic and supports 40 – 50 young people a week with mental health challenges to cope with the difficulties this year has brought them.

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