As a personal trainer, exercise and physical activity can have a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of my clients. As well as being a great workout for the body, exercise is also great for the mind and can help to boost your mood - whether you've been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not. Let's look at some facts first from mind.org.uk...
How common are mental health problems?
Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
How common are specific problems?
Every seven years a survey is done in England to measure the number of people who have different types of mental health problems. It was last published in 2016 and reported these figures:
Generalised anxiety disorder5.9 in 100 people
Depression3.3 in 100 people
Phobias 2.4 in 100 people
OCD 1.3 in 100 people
Panic disorder0.6 in 100 people
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)4.4 in 100 people
Mixed anxiety and depression7.8 in 100 people
These are just some of the mental health conditions.
Why does being active matter?
We all know that being physically active is good for our bodies. But our physical health and mental health are closely linked – so physical activity can be very beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing too.
Lots of us don't get enough exercise to stay healthy, but physical activity is particularly important if you have a mental health problem.
If you have a long-term physical health condition it can also put you at risk of developing a mental health problem such as anxiety or depression. For some people, the impact on your mental health could become more of a problem than the physical condition itself. Exercise programmes and other treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness have been shown to improve anxiety and depression, and quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
Mental health benefits when active...
Reduced anxiety and happier moods. When you exercise, your brain chemistry changes through the release of endorphins (sometimes called ‘feel good’ hormones), which can calm anxiety and lift your mood.
Reduced feelings of stress. You may experience reductions in feelings of stress and tension as your body is better able to control cortisol levels.
Clearer thinking. Some people find that exercise helps to break up racing thoughts. As your body tires so does your mind, leaving you calmer and better able to think clearly.
A greater sense of calm. Simply taking time out to exercise can give you space to think things over and help your mind feel calmer.
Increased self-esteem. When you start to see your fitness levels increase and your body improve, it can give your self-esteem a big boost. The sense of achievement you get from learning new skills and achieving your goals can also help you feel better about yourself and lift your mood. Improved self-esteem also has a protective effect that increases life satisfaction and can make you more resilient to feeling stressed.
Reduced risk of depression. If you're more active there’s good evidence to suggest that at most ages, for both men and women, there's a trend towards lower rates of depression. In fact one study has found that by increasing your activity levels from doing nothing to exercising at least three times a week, you can reduce your risk of depression by almost 20%.
I want to reach out to as many people as possible with this campaign to help raise awareness but to show how exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle can have a positive impact on improving mental wellbeing. To do this I will be offering anyone a free 30min appt either via Skype, telephone or in person at our studio in Sidmouth. The 30 min appt will vary person to person but generally will involve talking over areas such as -
how being active and leading a healthy lifestyle can improve mental wellbeing
how to achieve a healthier lifestyle through exercise, mindfulness and food choices
what type of exercise is suitable for you
how to overcome barriers to exercise such as 'having a lack of energy' 'low body confidence' 'not a sporty person'
fear of anxiety and panic attacks when exercising
how to plan a safe routine
motivation ideas to keep it going
When it comes to mental health and wellbeing, exercise can make a huge difference to how you feel - this is my way of helping as many people as possible in my local community and further afield to help promote this.
To book your slot in please visit www.ztfit.co.uk/contact-us and fill in the enquiry form with your details and I will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. All enquiries are kept confidential.