This Teen Is Raising Awareness About Mental Health After Exercise Saved Her Life

by Georgina Berbari

Working out obviously benefits the body in so many ways, but it can be easy to forget about the incredible effects exercise can have on a person's mental health, too.

In fact, research has shown aerobic exercise, or even strength training, can significantly reduce depressive symptoms and anxiety.

And Courtney Lorking, an online wellness coach and fitness enthusiast, is living proof of these scientific claims.

After attempting suicide three times in the span of just four weeks, Lorking was admitted to a psychiatric ward, where she stayed for three days to receive professional help.

Once she returned home, Lorking began to incorporate more exercise and movement into her life.

She's since said these change have drastically improved her mental well-being, and may have even helped save her life.

Lorking's Instagram page is sprinkled with inspiring mantras that reinforce the incredible benefits exercise can have on the brain.

One of her captions reads:

Exercise is the best anti-depressant I've ever used. Seeing progress in your body and thinking 'hey that's all my hard work.' The buzz you get leaving the gym is better than any pharmaceutical anyone can make in my opinion. That natural way of life and not finding a band-aid for the situation is the most effective way to tackle anxiety and depression.

The 18-year-old told The Daily Mail she's currently studying to become a personal trainer, and hopes she can use her certification to help others improve their mental health.

After coming out strong on the other side of her depression, Lorking's goal is to raise awareness about mental health issues among young women.

She wants women everywhere to know there are plenty of resources out there to find the help they need -- including both professional help, and the guidance that fitness can offer someone battling depression or anxiety.

Lorking currently uses her online wellness coaching services to provide an extremely balanced approach to exercise and healthy living for anyone battling mental health issues.

She told The Daily Mail,

I eat whatever my body is craving, if I feel like I want to eat pizza I go for it. Listen to your body, accept yourself for who you are, and do what makes you happy.

Above all, the teen wants people everywhere to know they're not alone in their struggles, and no one should ever be afraid to speak out about whatever it is they're going through.

While the profoundly positive impacts of regular exercise on mental well-being are undeniable, it's important to remember fitness shouldn't be seen as the immediate cure for all mental health problems.

If you think you're experiencing depression or have had suicidal thoughts, it is important to seek professional help from a doctor.

If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.

If you or someone you know is considering self-harm, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.