Health: Gym urges exercise willpower in mental health battle

Picture by Owen Humphreys/ PA Wire.
Picture by Owen Humphreys/ PA Wire.
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Getting the heart going with a bit of exercise is not just about boosting your physical health.

Studies have also shown that physical exercise can benefit your mental health by releasing feel-good chemicals around the brain, and improving sleep and self esteem among other things.

With that in mind, statistics that show one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year mean getting fit could play a pivotal role in our wellbeing.

To mark World Mental Health Day on Saturday, PureGym Leeds North at the Merrion Centre hosted a series of classes designed to benefit people suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and stress.

The ‘Walking Out of Darkness – Mind, Body and Soul’ sessions were organised in partnership with mental health charity CLASP, whose founder Kenny Johnston has battled mental health crisis several times.

He said: “Simple exercises such as walking, cycling and yoga provide me with self-control, calmness and structure to my daily routine, which is often difficult when trying to overcome anxiety, depression and stress.”

Giving exercise a go is not to be sniffed at, especially when the physical and mental health benefits are there for all to see.

Leeds has embraced World Mental Health Day as a way to raise awareness of the mental health problems that affect millions in the UK every year.

More than 40 organisations in the city are also joining forces at Civic Hall on Thursday to help the cause further – volition.org.uk/world-mental-health-day-event-15th-oct-2015.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about mental health issues, so why not work up a sweat at the same time?


People working in mental health are among the health heroes we are hoping to honour this year.

The YEP Best of Health Awards 2015 is open for nominations and we are calling on readers to send in details of the health workers who deserve recognition.

Readers have until October 19 to nominate in any one of 10 categories, highlighting the work of doctors, nurses, teams, unsung heroes and people who have made a special contribution to health care in the region.

A shortlist will be drawn up before a glitzy ceremony on December 7. Visit www2.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/healthawards2015 to nominate.