SHAPING UP: The importance of exercise on your mental health and your wellbeing

Did you see the “Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood” documentary last week?

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 24th May 2022, 12:00 am
Fun runs, like the Colour Run or Pretty Muddy events are a great way of doing some exercise but having fun at the same time.
Fun runs, like the Colour Run or Pretty Muddy events are a great way of doing some exercise but having fun at the same time.

Joe bravely opened up about the impact his parents' “severe mental health problems” had on him during his childhood.

During the documentary he revealed that he used exercise to de-stress and avoid the atmosphere at home.

He said: “If I hadn’t exercised, I would have been a nightmare.

"No one would have been able to control me. PE was the one subject I looked forward to because it helped me focus.”

Which is what I want to talk about today; the importance of exercise for mental health.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing.

When we exercise it releases endorphins, powerful chemicals in your brain that boosts your mood and make you feel good.

Regular exercise can even have an impact on depression and anxiety.

The good news is, you don't have to be a fitness fanatic to reap the benefits.

Even just modest amounts of exercise can make a difference.

The trick is to make it enjoyable and don’t set your goals too high to begin with.

If you have mental health issues and haven't exercised for a long time, setting yourself unrealistic goals like completing a marathon or working out twice a day will only leave you more despondent if you fall short.

Better to set yourself achievable goals and build up from there.

Here are my top three ways to get your body moving and those endorphins flowing:

Group Fitness

Our group training at East Coast Fitness isn't as hard or as intimidating as you may imagine.

It's designed so that you can take everything at your own speed.

There are variations of every exercise so that it suits all fitness levels. And it isn't full of super fit athlete.

Most people are between 30 and 60 years old and attend our sessions because of the social benefits, which is an important factor in mental health.

If you'd like to try the East Coast Fitness boot camp you can come along for a whole week for only £10.

Couch to 5K

Couch to 5K is a running plan for beginners. It was developed to help people to get off the couch and start running.

The plan involves three runs a week, with a day of rest in between, and a different schedule for each of the nine weeks.

Thousands of people have completed this programme and gained lots of motivation from it. It's also free to join. Bonus! Just go to the app store and download the app on your phone to get started.

Fun Run

Fun runs, like the Colour Run or Pretty Muddy events are a great way of doing some exercise but having fun at the same time.

You can take part on your own or you can do it with a group of friends.

Events like this are really fun, you'll have a good laugh and it will give you a great sense of achievement afterwards.

Just google "fun run North East” for a list of local events.

Graham’s bio reveals that: “When I left school, I spent years as a professional footballer at Hartlepool United. I had a reasonably successful, short career, winning international tournaments with the youth team, making my professional debut in 2005. Winning Young Player Of The Year in the same year, we reached the League 1 Play-Off Final.“More importantly, during this time, I learned a great deal about exercise and nutrition and how to get the best out of your body.

"When my football career ended due to injury, I qualified as a personal trainer.”