Exercise for Mental Wellbeing

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During Mental Health Awareness Month in May 2019, Live Active Leisure invited local woman, Carrie Martin, to spend a month enjoying the benefits of a Live Active membership.  Carrie was given access to gym, classes and pool and was asked to keep a note of how regular activity impacted on her sense of wellbeing and mental health.

As someone who has struggled with both anxiety and depression over the years, Carrie is only too aware of the downward spiral that comes from not looking after herself.

When I stick to a regular routine, I feel more energetic, more bright and alert. “For me, I know that when I take care of myself things are better – and the opposite is also true! It only takes a couple of weekends out to affect how I feel about myself and others around me.  It starts with not sleeping, then I’ll order takeaway because I can’t be bothered cooking, and form there I’m feeling down and disappointed in myself, which of course makes the whole worse.

“It is a really destructive cycle, as anyone who lives with depression will know.  The stages of blow out, despair and then beating myself up are awful but the older I get the more I realise that there are ongoing choices I can make to help me stay more positive.”

“Looking after myself is a big part of this. It is so important for my self-esteem and general wellbeing and exercise is a huge part of that.  When I stick to a regular routine, as I did with my month in May, I feel more energetic, more bright and alert. 

 I feel as though I’ve accomplished something worthwhile - one hour out of the day can make me feel amazing. "Most importantly, I feel pleased with myself. I feel as though I’ve accomplished something worthwhile.  One hour out of the day can make me feel amazing and this is what I now try to keep in mind when that feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’ sneaks in.”

Carrie tried out various classes and exercises during her month’s membership: yoga, gym, ladies circuit and kettlebells were all part of the mix she went for in a bid for that feel-good factor!


“I loved the yoga – it sounds corny but that complete feeling of being at peace with your mind and body is wonderful.  Who knew I could do zen?! The kettlebells weren’t really my thing but I’m glad I tried them – I much preferred the Ladies Circuit class! I came out of there totally buzzing and high from the exercise.  I’ve heard people talking about that but this is the first time I really felt it.

“You do get a buzz – depending on high the intensity is – and it is honestly one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.  I was bright red in the face, sweating and completely burst, and yet when I stepped under that hot shower I felt alive! The happy endorphins had properly kicked in!” 

During the period of her membership Carrie found that other areas of her life were impacted positively thanks to her new-found routine.

“When I’m ‘in the zone’ I definitely feel motivated to make better choices all round.  I think it’s the routine – I’m good with routine and I like to stick to it.  I eat better, I cycle places to get around – it’s the spiral effect going up the way!

When I’m ‘in the zone’ I definitely feel motivated to make better choices all round - and it’s always going to be better than sitting on the couch!“I work as a Social Care Officer and I do think that my job sometimes contributes to my mood. I love what I do but I’m on high alert all day and I can feel drained when I get home. The classes worked well for me because they got me out of the house and into a room with other people.

"At first I was a bit nervous going in, but you just need to remind yourself that they’re all there for the same reason – we all just want to feel a bit better, either mentally, for weight loss or just general fitness. Once I got past the self-consciousness that comes from having your bum in the air in a room full of strangers, it was great!

"I got to know a couple of faces and I had the confidence to walk in on my own; and let’s be honest, it’s always going to be better than sitting on the couch! In fact, it’s a bit like therapy!”

Take advanatge of the Live Active Leisure Fit For Festive offer on now, and enjoy a membership until December 31st for only £60! 

Further information and resources

The Mental Health Foundation is focused on the prevention of mental health problems and supporting good mental health for all. Further information about mental health prevention can be found on their website here:

If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority. If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E.

Below are details on services and organisations that offer help and support directly to people with mental health problems:

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