Mental Health Banner
Mental Health Icon

Mental Health

It's well known that regular exercise is good for our bodies – and there's good evidence that it can help improve our mental wellbeing too.

An Overview of Mental Health

Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. It also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems.

MIND's online information about getting started with physical activity can help people with mental health problems better understand how sport and exercise can improve their physical and mental health – and overcome some common barriers.

Deciding what's safe for you, how hard you should push yourself and finding the right sport or activity can be difficult when you've got a mental health problem. And we can all struggle finding the motivation to be active.

Benefits

Mood: when asked to rate their mood immediately after periods of physical activity (going for a walk, doing housework) and periods of inactivity (reading a book, watching television), participants felt more content, more awake and calmer after being physically active.When you exercise, your brain chemistry changes through the release of endorphins (or 'feel good' hormones), which can calm anxiety and lift your mood.

Stress: when events occur that make us feel threatened or upset, our body's defences cut in and create a stress response, which may make us feel a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms. These symptoms are triggered by a rush of stress hormones – the fight or flight response. Adrenaline and noradrenaline raise our blood pressure, increase our heart rate and increase the rate at which we perspire. This causes us to feel stress. Physical activity is a good output for relieving these symptoms and consequently relieving stress.

Self-esteem: how we feel about ourselves and how we perceive our self-worth is a key indicator of our mental wellbeing and our ability to cope with life stressors. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive influence on our self-esteem and self-worth. 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 help you feel better about yourself and lift your mood.

Depression and anxiety: physical activity is increasingly used as an alternative treatment for depression. It can also reduce levels of anxiety in people with mild symptoms and may also be helpful for treating clinical anxiety.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%.

Social and Emotional Benefits: being around other people is good for our mental health and social networks, plus you can maximise the benefits of exercising by doing it with other people. Lots of us enjoy being active because it's fun. Researchers have shown that there's a link between the things we enjoy doing and improvements in our wellbeing overall.

Don't forget the physical benefits too. Being physically active can reduce your risk of some diseases, improve the health of your organs and bones, help you to maintain a healthy weight and give you more energy.

Involvement

Quick tips for being more active - Watch the video for five ways to get moving and feel better.

Find Mental Health Activities Near You

Use the search below to find local activities near you.

Active 10 App

The Active 10 app records every minute of walking you do (anonymously). Just pop your phone in your pocket and away you go!

Couch to 5K

Get off the couch and running 5K in just 9 weeks. Grab your trainers and follow the step-by-step audio instructions.

Get Set to Go

Get Set to Go helps people find the physical activity that's right for them so that they are able to enjoy the physical, social and mental benefits of being active.

National Governing Bodies

MIND

Contact Name
MIND
Contact Email
contact@mind.org.uk
Contact Telephone
020 8519 2122
Thrive Community Health, Fitness and Wellness

Thrive Community Health, Fitness and Wellness

Weight Management
Wellness Workshops
Group Exercise Classes
Mental Health First Aid
1:1 Health Coaching (available from January 2022)

The Net Community Hub

The Net Community Hub

The Net provides social and wellbeing activities for the vulnerable and elderly residents in the area, to combat social isolation.

The Park Club Chatham

The Park Club Chatham

The Park Club is a charitable company whose focus is to get more people, more active, more often. We have two clubs in Kent, one in Chatham and one in Ashford. We offer group exercise classes, a fully equipped gym, functional training area & squash court

The Right Step Dance Company

The Right Step Dance Company

The Right Step is a community dance company. We provide high quality dance lessons At Any Age, For Any Ability in schools, care homes, youth centres and for other organisations across Kent.

The Right Step Dance Company

The Right Step Dance Company

The Right Step is a community dance company. We provide high quality dance lessons At Any Age, For Any Ability in schools, care homes, youth centres and for other organisations across Kent.

Dunton Dragons Football Club

Dunton Dragons Football Club

We are a local amateur community sports club based in Dunton Green, Sevenoaks.

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun

Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun

A free, weekly & timed 5km event open to people of all ages and abilities. Every Saturday at 9am.

Tough Love Boxing Ltd

Tough Love Boxing Ltd

We are a new Boxing club focusing on both physical health and mental health.

LimbPower

LimbPower

LimbPower was launched in November 2009 to engage amputees and individuals with limb impairments in physical activity, sport and the arts to improve quality of life and to aid lifelong rehabilitation

Mental Health

Together In Musical Expression

Charitable organisation, established to relieve the needs of those with special and/or additional needs through the provision of musical based activities.

The charity is a progression from the initial conception of TIME Ltd. Both organisations will run

Involving Medway Community Grants Programme

Involving Medway Community Grants Programme

Community grants are awarded up to £2,500 for local groups supporting beneficiaries across Medway and Swale. The funding can be requested to support long term, short term and one-off activities which contribute to the Involving Medway Community Grants objectives.