Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise

An Industry Full of Gibberish

‘Learn form my experiences, mistakes and wins’

#32 – Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise

Hi Team,

This subject will mean a lot to a great deal of you. It also means a lot to me for many reasons.

Yesterday (10th of October) was World Mental Health Day, and I found it extremely interesting looking through my social media accounts and listening to some of my friends and also idols/role models in the fitness industry talk about their experiences with mental health, and how exercise and generally keeping fit and healthy has helped them through some dark times.

The term ‘mental health problem’ is often used to describe a difficulty withour mental health that causes concern, or interrupts our ability to go about our daily lives in the way in which we would want (Mental Awareness Week, 2013).

Firstly, to start, I would like to look at some statistics which I researched and gathered mostly from the Mental Health Charity ‘MIND’.

– “Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year”

– “In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week”

– “The overall number of people with mental health problems has not changed significantly in recent years, however It does appear that how people cope with mental health problems is getting worse as the number of people who self-harm or have suicidal thoughts is increasing”

-Below is a table representing out of 100 people in the UK, how many have one of the following mental health disorders:

Generalised anxiety disorder 5.9 in 100 people
Depression 3.3 in 100 people
Phobias 2.4 in 100 people
OCD 1.3 in 100 people
Panic disorder 0.6 in 100 people
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 4.4 in 100 people
Mixed anxiety and depression 7.8 in 100 people
– “Reports from both England and Wales suggest that approximately 1 in 8 adults with a mental health problem are currently receiving treatment. Medication is reported as the most common type of treatment for a mental health problem”

I was very aware of most of these statistics before researching them, however for some of you this may be eye-opening. Anyway, I kept researching this morning, as I became extremely intrigued by some of the stats I kept coming across. Here’s some stats relate across to physical health.
– “People with severe mental health problems have an average reduced life expectancy of between 10 and 25 years. Risk factors include smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, and the side effects of psychiatric medication”

– “People with a mental illness are almost twice as likely to die from coronary heart disease as the general population, four times more likely to die from respiratory disease and are at a higher risk of being overweight or obese”

– “42 per cent of all cigarettes smoked by the English population are smoked by people with a mental health problem”

Mental health Network NHS Confederation (March, 2016)

The link between mental health and ill physical health is frightening, and I’m not sure if its that well publicised? I was not aware of these statistics for example, and I’m a GP Referral qualified Personal Trainer.

I’ve been a Personal trainer for over 6 years now as most of you’re aware. I never thought that my job as a trainer and coach would involve helping people through mental health difficulties as much as it has, however I’m so glad that it has and I take great pride in doing so.

This isn’t to say I’m some form of mental health guru, and although I have never had any mental health problems, I have days where I feel low and down. My biggest problem at times is self-made, in that I expect so much from myself and place a lot of stress and pressure on myself. This is alongside taking on other peoples problems. Most days I deal with all of this fine, however sometimes it gets too much, so I take the afternoon/evening off, go home and just sleep (a combination of stress, pressure, and feeling like everything too much!)

Anyway, enough of me…

When I recently completed my Level 4 GP Referral course we looked in-depth at anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders, the medication utilised, and how exercise, and generally keeping fit and healthy can help. Myself, Mesha and Harry are actually in the process of setting up some links with local surgeries and GP’s to enable us to help more people with mental heath disorders utilise exercise and keeping fit and healthy as a form of medication. We are extremely excited to set up these links, and I believe it may be an area we will specialise in, in the future.

Here some incredible statistics about mental health and the benefits of exercise and keeping fit and healthy:

– “Participation in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety. Physical activity can help play a role in preventing mental health problems and improve the quality of life of those experiencing it. For example, there is an approximately 20–30% lower risk for depression and dementia, for adults participating in daily physical activity”
– “Studieshave found that people who participate in physical activity typically have greater physical and overall self-esteem. This relationship has been found in children, adolescents, young adults, adults and older people, and across both males and females.”

(Mental Health Foundation, Let’s Get Physical, 2013)

Here a little testimonial from the ‘Lets Get Physical’ impact of physical activity on wellbeing document published in 2013;

“With all the ups and downs I’ve had in my life, taking me through depression, alcohol and drug abuse, anorexia, anxiety and finally being diagnosed with bipolar in 2009, I’ve always found myself involved in some form of exercise, whether it be playing rugby, running or training in the gym. To put it simply, exercise is the BEST form of medication I have found to help me cope with mental illness.”

Here’s the results of a few more studies I’ve come across;

“A recent review of 30 randomised controlled trials 24 concluded that exercise improved depressive symptoms in people with a diagnosis of depression (including mild to severe clinical symptoms)
when compared with no treatment or a control intervention (e.g. sedentary social activity)”

“A further review of 49 randomised controlled trials that have investigated the effects of physical activity interventions on anxiety in non-clinicaland clinical populations found physical activity significantly reduced anxiety”

No more stats now I promise. From all of this we can see that:

1) Mental health is a huge problem in the UK
2) The amount of people suffering from mental illness is not decreasing, and a lot of people are not finding coping mechanisms that are working for them and are struggling to deal with their problems
3) Mental health significantly affects physical health in a negative way
4) Exercises and healthy living significantly improves peoples mental well-being (and obviously physical!)
5) First Class Fitness love helping people, and want to help more people who are struggling with mental health problems
In our eyes movement is medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states. What a tag line I’ve just created there!

If you are currently suffering from a mental health problem, have, or are feeling down in the dumps, I’m sorry and I feel for you. If you are training with us currently, then keep up the good work, and remember that you’re making such a positive impact on your long-term physical and mental well-being. Additionally, please remember that we are always here to talk, we are understanding, non-judgemental and we just want to help people improve their overall health and fitness, allowing them to get the most of this crazy thing we call ‘life’.

If you’re reading this and currently don’t train with us or do much/any exercise, but are suffering from mental illness, then please try movement for medicine and feel free to contact us. We’d love to help!

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”


If I didn’t start work early at 5:45-6am every morning, I would power-walk/walk instead and listen to a podcast. I would put my clothes for the morning by my bed, and set my alarm to the same time everyday (bar Sunday).

The science and studies done on the positive impact this daily habit has on someones day are unbelievable! The endorphins it gives off, the productivity you have going into the day, etc are miraculous!

I dare you to try it… You probably won’t, but if one of you does, please let me know how it positively impacts your life for the better, as I guarantee it will!

I’m going to finish this article by leaving you with a list of some of the mental health benefits of exercise/training:

– Stress Release
– Increased Self-Confidence
– Increased Self-Esteem
– Improved Mood/Mental State
– Increase Memory (proven!), Decreased Chances of Dementia
– Stronger Resilience
– Increased Energy Levels
– Decrease Anxiety Levels & Likelihood of Anxiety Disorders
– Decrease Likelihood of Depression
– Helps Overcome PTSD & Trauma

To name a few!

#movementismedicine #gethistrending


^^^World Mental Health Day^^

My week (1st – 14th of October)

These week were… EXCITING


Works been busy and very exciting. I will be announcing the exciting bit in an email of its own when I have time to sit down and write it. At the moment its having that time which is the issue!

Cobi is learning and myself and Mesha have enjoyed teaching him the FCF philosophy so far. He has lots to learn, however he’s like a sponge at the moment!

Now theres a fair few coaches at FCF, I now feel its important we create a very tight-knit team and this is something I’m going to be focussing some of my attention on in the near future. Staff days out and all that! The better we get on and understand each other, I feel the better the quality of our service we will provide as a business.

Give me some ideas for staff days out if you have any?

Training & Lifestyle

My training and lifestyle has been very good. Its very balanced at the moment, and I feel content with my training frequency, intensity, diet, sleep, etc.

Lets try and keep this balance. Consistency is key and all that. I’m trying to train with the other boys a bit more frequently:

1) To push each other
2) To learn from each other

So long as we don’t push each other too hard this is all good. Myself and Jamie used to get overly competitive, and it would always end in tears, haha!


Speaking of Jamie, he’s doing really well. I know a lot of you have been asking!

He’s working in a Fitness First Gym and doing a lot of group classes, and now some face-to-face Personal Training I believe. It wasn’t his plan to go out there and do this, however building an online personal training business is incredibly tough, and takes time, hence the gym job. plus, its good for meeting people and a free gym membership.

Before you ask, his hair still is receding, and don’t ask about his relationship status #complicated

If you miss him, watch his Instagram videos, they will make you smile and cringe

Quote of the week

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”

Have a great week everyone!


Welcome Cobi ?


If you’ve used this machine, then you will understand the pain he is in.

We don’t always train like this, however sometimes it’s nice to train as a team and see how hard we can push each other.

When we train together, we also teach each other and learn a lot as well which I love!

It’s our release, it’s our passion, and muscle doesn’t grow on trees ??

Excuse the language, Cobi didn’t actually know he was being filmed haha.

Ive learnt that you can actually judge a person and their character based on how they train. Cobi is a good coach already and he’s going to be an amazing coach as he is willing to put the work in, doesn’t mind suffering, and can still laugh and smile at the same time ??


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