Mark Hayward's City Matters: An exercise in getting better
4/7/14 -- Jason Carter and Mary Keeler lift weights at the downtown YMCA while their In Shape trainer, Deb Acres, looks on. MARK HAYWARD / UNION LEADER
You strengthen some muscles. You tighten up some of the flabby paunch. And after your blood's raced through your body like it's a NASCAR course, you leave sucking on a water jug spiked with a shot of accomplisment, a splash of optimism.
That's what a couple hundred mentally ill people in Manchester are experiencing, thanks to a statewide, experimental program that is getting them out of lonely apartments and into gyms. There they are pumping iron, running treadmills and getting tips on proper eating.
Now she carries 176 pounds on her 5-foot, 7-inch frame, and her arm muscles slightly ripple as she curls a barbell at the Manchester YMCA.
"I feel liberated," she said.
Local gyms are supportive, and gym membership helps to break down community barriers for the mentally ill, said Ken Snow, a social worker and spokesman for Manchester Mental Health.
Snow cautioned that a workout regiment won't cure mental illness, but it could help reduce symptoms enough so a patient can live comfortably, he said.
Her trainer, John Curtis, said Gaertner has avoided hospital stays because of the activity. "I didn't like the way I was. It was depressing, I was big," Gaertner said. "I'm happier now."
READER COMMENTS: 2
- Drew Cline: Home is where the really competent governing is done - 5
- Drew Cline: Andrew Hemingway, a young candidate with a future and a past - 6
- Annie Kuster has the distinction of being John Bolton's first ad target - 9
- Drew Cline: Bob Smith's three 'p's': Principle, platform, party - 4
- Drew Cline: Scott Brown plans to win over NH one handshake at a time - 18
- Drew Cline: Dan Innis is no political lightweight - 3
- Drew Cline: A Libertarian plays devil's advocate in U.S. Senate race - 3
- Drew Cline: Eric Cantor, 'Game of Thrones,' and the selling of NH politics - 15
- Drew Cline: In the State House, a weakening check on NH government - 1
READER COMMENTS: 0
- On Baseball: Fisher Cats manager Meacham learned a few things, too - 0
- First and 10: Old No. 1 begins as new No. 1 - 0
- NHIAA Girls' Soccer Preview: All eyes on Bedford, Exeter - 0
- Another View -- Dan McGuire: We Free Staters are not some threat to be feared - 0
- Taxpayer rights: Left, right should restore them - 0
- Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test - 0
- No paper Monday - 0
- Patriots' Garoppolo solid, but Giants eke out 16-13 win in preseason finale - 0
- Education business tax credit program upheld - 0
Enter to win tickets to see Paula Poundstone
Win tickets to see Steven Wright
Where is Shaheen? Hiding from you
Weekly brother gave police wrong name
Hooksett highs: A good multiple choice test