Tish Cyrus was a late bloomer when it came to hitting the gym but says it was the best thing she did for her mental health when she was "spinning out of control"
"I'd always been thin, even after I had babies," Cyrus, 56, tells PEOPLE. "But I definitely wasn't ever toned or even in shape at all. But I started working out two years ago after my mother died and then I went through a divorce and was just spinning out of control."
In April 2022, she ended a 30-year marriage to Billy Ray Cyrus.
Cyrus says she was 54 when a therapist encouraged her to try sweating out her emotions.
"My therapist said to me, you need to put your energy into something, do you work out?" Cyrus says.
"I'd always heard that working out was good for you mentally but I'd never really believed it. But as soon as I actually started working out with a fabulous trainer, she was so good for me, physically and mentally. Now I feel better than I've felt in 20 years."
She adds, "I think maybe it's because it was the first time I'd actually taken care of me and taken time for myself like that. It's really changed my life in a huge way."
Cyrus says it's not just about getting strong, but also about the friendship she formed with her trainer.
"We started together during COVID and it was just the right time — there had been so much loss in my life," Cyrus says, adding that it helped to be able to talk openly to her trainer about personal challenges.
"You can talk to your friends and family, but they're of course going to have an opinion because they've been in your life for so long," she says. "But she really didn't have an opinion. She just listened to me, and now we're such close friends."
Cyrus is also proud of how physically strong she's become. "My body has changed so much," Cyrus says. "It's really amazing."
"My anxiety has effected me since I was in my 20s," she says. "I lost my dad when I was 19 to lung cancer, and just seeing what he went through gave me so much health anxiety," she says. "When the anxiety starts seeping in, I really just isolate, which makes you go darker. But everything has changed," she says.
"I will say that between working out and starting therapy, I've just grown so much over the last two years."
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.