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How activity helps mental wellbeing

Bootcamp circuit training fitness class







There is a lot of talk and awareness around the topic of mental wellbeing. From people struggling to cope at work to children unable to enjoy full and rewarding lives at school, mental wellbeing – or the lack of it – is a serious problem in our society.

Doing our bit for mental wellbeing

At Kelsey Kerridge, we take our responsibility towards helping people live healthier and fitter lives very seriously. This includes mental health, which is so intrinsically linked to physical well-being.

That doesn’t mean we expect people to spend hours and hours in the gym. It doesn’t mean setting one goal after another as you push yourself to greater heights of physical fitness. We just believe that being active and doing things you enjoy will help you feel, look and be healthier.

Essentially, mental wellbeing means feeling good and being able to live your life the way you want to. It means having the confidence to step out of your front door and get on with your day. It means having the capacity to make and retain friendships and feel a valued member of society.

How exercise helps your mental wellbeing

Physical activity can help people with mild depression or anxiety. This is because it is believed to change the chemical interactions and balance in the brain, diminishing the effects of the stress hormone cortisol and releasing more of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin.

There is also the rising level of self belief that comes from reaching a goal or achieving a target. This is one of the key benefits of regular activity and something with which the staff in the Outlooks Gym can help.

What activity should I do?

Getting active doesn’t mean running a marathon or pushing sinew-snapping weights. Unless you are training specifically for an event – such as running a 10k – then concentrate on activities that you enjoy and that get you moving.

By joining a class or belonging to a group, you are increasing the size of your social circle. By connecting with other people you are building a strong, secure and supportive network and this will make you feel more confident, give you a sense of purpose and make you feel part of a community.

Learning = self confidence

Learning a new skill is a great way to gain self-confidence and give you a sense of achievement. At Kelsey Kerridge we have a number of classes and courses where you can learn dance, yoga, pilates, climbing or a host of other skills and activities.

climbing wall cambridge

Be mindful of the world around you. When you are running, cycling or swimming, you are able to lose yourself in the moment. Similarly with meditation or activities that require you to concentrate on the movement. Allow your brain to go where the activity takes it. Then you can switch off negative feelings or worries that have been bugging you.

Writing on the NHS website, wellbeing expert Professor Sarah Stewart-Brown says: “Feelings of contentment, enjoyment, confidence and engagement with the world are all a part of mental wellbeing. Self-esteem and self-confidence are, too.

“So is a feeling that you can do the things you want to do. And so are good relationships, which bring joy to you and those around you.

“Good mental wellbeing does not mean that you never experience feelings or situations that you find difficult,” she adds. “But it does mean that you feel you have the resilience to cope when times are tougher than usual.”

It can help to think about “being well” as something you do, rather than something you are. The more you put in, the more you are likely to get out.