Mind & Body: Exercising Mental Health

How are you feeling? A question not asked enough, and not answered enough. When you have the answer to their question you worry about how they will take it. Did you know?

• 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.
• 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (like anxiety and depression) in any given week in England.

Over the years, we have come to realise how important physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are to our mental wellbeing. Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Eric E. Hall, Lisa M. VanLanduyt & Steven J. Petruzzello said:


”Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood”.


Regular participation in physical exercise has the potential to increase your self-esteem. It provides mental clarity as it reduces stress and anxiety levels within the brain. It can prevent the onset of mental health issues.

Depression and anxiety are expressions which are co-linked through biology. Mind suggests that England could see Mixed anxiety and depression: in 8 out of 100 people. People who develop depression also experience anxiety during their life. Persistent stress for long periods of time can produce anxiety and depression.

You can find out more here.


Bobbi-Joe using a skipping rope in one of his fitness sessions at his Manchester gym.


Healthy Body – Healthy Mind

Dr Michael Miller said: “Stress, anxiety, and depression can be viewed as one family of related problems. It’s hard to tease them out”


Managing Stress

Physical activity produces natural painkiller’s, endorphins, which improve sleep and reduces stress. Meditation, massage therapy, and controlled breathing are also capable of producing endorphins. A prescription of exercise leads to the production of serotonin – the happy chemical.



How does exercise reduce anxiety levels?

• Physical activity diverts your thoughts and focuses your mind on the task at hand.
• As you move your body muscle tension loosens and the effect of anxiousness weakens.
• Increasing your heart rate stimulates the production of anti-anxiety chemicals such as serotonin.
• Regular exercise enhances your bodies resilience to powerful emotions.

Physical activity is accessible and self-empowering. It helps to ease mild anxiety and may help clinical anxiety. The amount of physical activity needed to reduce anxiety is difficult to identify. Sudden bursts of anxiety generally respond better to exercise than long-term anxiety.


Bobbi-Joe personal training in his gym in Manchester.


How does exercise boost your mood?

The head of physical activity at Mind, Hayley Jarvis said “exercise is fantastic for releasing tension, reducing stress and giving joy,” and “being active is one of the best things you can do to help yourself bounce back in times of adversity. Getting out of your head and into your body can actually improve your ability to think clearly and break up your racing thoughts.”


Find your mood-boosting workout

Getting up and starting is hard. Start slow, and stop when you need to. The production of pain-reliever endorphins triggers when you walk and complete low-intensity exercise. When you stretch you release muscle tension. When you move you increase the flow of oxygen through the body. Pay close attention to your mood tipping point. The emotional release is great!


Are you happy?

To make physical activity more enjoyable exercise with a friend or try team sports. Hayley Jarvis said: “Social connectivity is incredibly important,” and “when we’re struggling we tend to isolate ourselves, but being with other people can motivate you to get out there. Playing team sports is great if you feel lonely.”

Calm your mind and try mental, spiritual, and physical exercise such as yoga, pilates, and tai chi. Hayley Jarvis suggests “Exercise that works with your breath is particularly good for improving mindfulness, which can also calm a spinning head and improve your mood.”

Stay safe everyone and don’t forget, keep grinding and Step in Da groove ‘N’ move!