Did you know that approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year? According to ‘Mind’, the number of people suffering from mental health issues hasn’t changed a great deal in recent years but what is apparent is the way in which people cope with mental health issues is getting worse.
Recently the BBC aired an extremely powerful and inspirational documentary called ‘Mind Over Marathon’, focusing on 10 individuals with various mental health problems and how the impact of exercise in training for this year’s London Marathon affected them.
TeamMama believe there are huge positive benefits for exercise, not just for your body physically but for your mind too.
What is mental health?
The World Health Organisation defines mental health as ‘a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community’.
Unfortunately, as statistics prove, and for so many different reasons, this is harder for some to maintain than others. Mental health issues come in many different forms including, depression, post-natal depression, OCD, post-traumatic stress syndrome, to name just a few.
Positive effects of exercise
According to the NHS, ‘research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy’. It also states that regular exercise can reduce your risk of many mental illnesses too, including stress and depression, which could be reduced by 30%.
When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins which interact with your brain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, making you feel good. Exercise is also a great way of having time to yourself, clearing your head and meeting other like-minded individuals.
Participants of the BBC documentary said that the training they had undertaken for the marathon had given them not just a physical challenge but a mental challenge too and in doing so given them a huge sense of pride and accomplishment with exercise for some becoming a necessity and a release.
Too often our busy lives get in the way and often exercise is put to the bottom of the list but with so many positive benefits, we should be doing more of it!
Sense of community
What seemed hugely apparent in Mind Over Marathon is the positive effect of being part of a collective group, having somewhere to share experiences with others who are in the same or similar situations, encouraging each other along the way.
Creating a sense of community is something TeamMama feel strongly about. We want all our Mamas to come to class to of course train and get fit but to also have fun, meet new people, release those endorphins and feel good about themselves. We use several streams of social media in our Facebook and Instagram pages to help connect people, as well as our virtual running group where people can share their goals, ask for tips and arrange to meet to train outside of TeamMama. We also organise several events throughout the year to bring people together, including our annual MamaRun.
How does exercise affect our Mamas?
We asked our Mamas how exercising made them feel and for many it was that feeling of escaping their busy everyday lives and having time to themselves, clearing their heads and the enjoyment of getting out in the fresh air. It was also said that following exercise our Mums had more energy and slept better too!
If you want to join our TeamMama community, get fit and have fun contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.