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If there was ever someone who could earn the name of ‘couch potato’ it’s me.

You might think, working in the office here at Bramley Baths, I’d be ultra fit as I’m surrounded by a beautiful pool, a gym and fitness classes galore. But reality is different.

I’m 46 and very unfit. I’ve not done any regular exercise for probably 20 years. And I’m getting a belly. An increasingly big one. In truth, I was a bit nervous about starting exercise after all this time.

When my colleague Claire said she was going to run a nine-week Couch to 5K course I couldn’t say no any longer. I have to do something to get myself fitter and more healthy.

So 9.30 on Monday morning came. I found myself waiting in BB reception with six other people. To my surprise they were nervous too. People of all ages and backgrounds were there, from a mum carrying a baby on her back through to people both younger and older than me.

No-one wanted to be an Olympian – just to increase their fitness and get healthier, even by a little bit.

Run Bramley Baths

The group is a friendly one. Everyone was chatty and Claire was friendly, supportive and encouraging (just as I knew she would be). She made sure no-one was left behind (including slow coaches like me!)

We set off from the Baths as a brisk walking speed for the first five minutes (I was a bit out of breath then, if I’m honest!). This was the warm up.

Then we moved onto the main session as we headed towards Stanningley. This consisted of 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking. It doesn’t sound like much, but after 20 minutes I started to feel it.

I won’t lie, it was hard. But we kept a very steady pace which we were all comfortable at.

I came away with a sense of accomplishment. We’d covered 3k today, I was tired but I got through it better than I thought I would. I think everyone felt the same thing.

I’d recommend anyone who wants to improve their fitness and shed a bit of weight to give this a go. In May we’re all hoping to do the 5k Bramley parkrun in Bramley Park.

I wasn’t sure beforehand I’d get through this. But I did, thanks to a friendly group and a supportive tutor. I’m going to write this down so I stick to it: today marked the first day of a new, fitter and healthier me. No going back now.

John Baron