Nicola Bintliff is healthier and happier after finding her second home at Active Ashton.

Nicola, from Ashton, has problems with her bones and joints and is partially blind and deaf due to a hereditary condition called Stickler Syndrome.

She said: “I also struggle with anxiety and depression and I put on a lot of weight due to medications and because I quit smoking.”

Nicola had never set foot in a gym or been very active before.

She said: “I was really low with the weight gain, I didn’t feel like myself and so just over a year ago I decided to join the gym. I don’t know what made me do it because I didn’t even know what a treadmill was called, but I’m so glad I did.”

Nicola now does personal training with Callum Borders, attends the gym and classes 4 days a week and has lost 3 stone in a year.

She said: “The personal training has helped me with my confidence, I’m still learning but now I can go to the gym on my own no problem and I feel amazing, I’ve got loads of confidence and I’ve made lots of friends. I never thought I’d be lifting weights and doing strength training.

“It helps me with my bones and I can feel myself get that bit stronger every time. There is no cure for my condition so it is a really big deal to find something that feels like it is helping.”

Getting active has also been great for Nicola’s mental health.

She explained: “Before this, because of my anxiety, I could never go out in the dark, I wouldn’t leave the house. Since finding the gym I am now going to classes and coming home in the dark. The confidence I have found since coming here and the support from the staff has been a massive help. I’ve realised how much more I am able to do than I had previously thought.”

Nicola’s two children, Kyle, 9, and Ellie, 7, are very proud of their mum and like to get involved with any exercise she does at home.

Nicola said: “I feel different inside and out and they can see that, they’re amazing. My disability is invisible, it can be difficult to explain, it is a challenge, but this has helped and I’ve conquered so much.

“I would definitely encourage people to give it a go, if you like it great and if not you find something else. I love it and Active Ashton is my second home now, I would never stop coming!”