How to get active (when you really don’t feel like it).


May is here, and Mental Health Awareness Week is just around the corner, running from the 13th to the 19th. This year’s theme, set by the Mental Health Foundation, is “Movement – Moving more for our mental health”.

We all know how important movement is for our mental well-being, but many of us struggle to make it a part of our daily lives. Whether it’s due to busy schedules, not knowing where to start, or just struggling to build up the motivation to brush off the trainers, the barriers can feel daunting.

Living with depression and anxiety can also make it hard to get out and get active. For some just getting out of bed can prove exhausting and for others, the thought of stepping into a busy gym when you don’t entirely know what you are doing, can be a major anxiety trigger.

The thing is….exercise is one of the vital components to boosting mental health and wellbeing. It can help to release feel good hormones, boost self esteem and confidence, reduce tension, stress and anxiety, calm the mind and even help you to connect with those around you.

So, how do you get active when your mind is doing everything it can to wrestle you out of that gym gear and back under the covers to hide away from the world?!

Start small, start at home, just start somewhere!

You don’t need a big fancy gym membership to get active and you don’t need to run a marathon to feel the mental health benefits of movement. Jogging on the spot whilst you wait for the kettle to boil is a great place to start!

Get up and move around if you work at a computer all day, or just incorporate a few stretches first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. Every little counts.

The average adult should aim for 150 minutes of exercise a week, so use this as your target and set small, realistic goals to get yourself there. Once you’ve figured out a regular exercise schedule that suits you, try to increase the time that you are doing it week by week.

Think about the exercise that might help you the most

Different exercises help us to cope with different situations. Yoga is a wonderful tool to help manage anxiety, running is a great stress buster and walking in the fresh air is an excellent way to help improve sleep quality and fight depression.

Workout in your living room

For many, the thought of walking through the doors of the gym, or taking part in a class, is enough to make the stomach churn. Fear not! You Tube and home workout apps are a fantastic way to enter the world of fitness in your front room! Here are a few of our favourites:

Yoga with Adrienne (You Tube)

Adriene Mishler is an international yoga teacher, actress, writer, and entrepreneur on a mission to make tools for mental, emotional, and physical health accessible for all. Her sessions are easy to follow and she has a wonderfully calming voice. Benji the dog often joins her as she talks the audience through everything from runner’s yoga, to yoga for stress, yoga for weight loss, or one of her thirty day programmes. She ensures that her videos are manageable for all, providing alternative moves for newbies. The best part is that her videos are absolutely free and easy to fit into any kind of schedule.

Disney Dance Workout (You Tube)

Kyra Pro is a LEG…END! If you want to inject a bit of fun into getting fit then Kyra’s amazing dance workouts are made for you! Sweat it out with Kyra to Disney soundtracks, The Greatest Showman and Mamma Mia and start your day not only feeling fit, but frankly feeling pretty fab as well! Find Kyra on YouTube.

FitOn (App)

FitOn is a fantastic FREE app that offers a range of premium app workouts. There’s plenty of streaming classes available to do in the comfort of your own home from yoga and Pilates to HIIT, barre and cardio. If you’re prepared to pay a little then there is an option to upgrade, however as part of a start off fitness programme the free platform is perfect.

Couch to 5k (App)

The Couch to 5K app is for absolute running beginners and helps you to build up your running stamina slowly and surely.

Track your progress

Tracking your progress can literally help you keep on track!! (Funny that!!). MyFitness Pal is a great free app to start with, or just keep a movement journal and jot down what you’ve done and for how long. At the very least it will help you to see if you’ve reached the recommended goal of 150 minutes of exercise for the week.

Make sure to celebrate each goal that you set yourself.

Failure shouldn’t be feared

Sometimes it’s really easy to give up if you find you aren’t enjoying something and then, in turn, to see that as a failure at getting fit.

All it means is that you haven’t found your groove yet. Try moving to a different form of exercise until you find something that you really enjoy.

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