Mental Health Awareness Week – Personal Stories and Useful Resources

At Again Faster, we'll admit we're not experts on mental health, but we will take any opportunity to contribute, even in some small way, to helping end the stigma around discussing mental health.

We've heard so many stories from friends, family, customers, and colleagues about how exercise has had a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing that there has to be some truth to it.

We just want to take this opportunity to share some of these stories about mental health and exercise, and wrap up by providing some helpful resources should you, or anyone close to you, be struggling with their mental health.

Opening Up About the Positive Impact of Training and Exercise on Mental Health

We put a call out to our followers on social media, asking them to share any stories they might have about the impact exercise has had on their lives and mental health specifically. We were overwhelmed by some of the responses, so we'll just let a few of them speak for themselves:

  • "I'm a first responder in London and had to attend the terrorist attacks in 2017. It had more impact on me than I initially thought. A few months later I developed pretty debilitating anxiety. I spoke to a couple of councillors and loved ones but it didn't really help. My brain would never switch off. I stopped training and in turn lost weight and strength. It wasn’t until I forced myself into a CrossFit box that I started to feel calm again. It allowed me to put all my nervous energy into hard painful sessions and finally get some brain space and perspective. It's over a year since starting, I've gained 12 kg in (mostly!) muscle and my mental health feels excellent and I feel like a completely different person."
  • "[Exercise is] such a stress reliever and helped me keep sane. Helped me focus on something else rather than constantly worrying about covid. Helped me not have low days."
  • "Morning guys, me and the Mrs just wanted to say thanks for our kit. With her in the NHS and me in the Police it's perfect for both our mental and physical health."
  • "Early last year I became a dad for the first time, that was hard enough but an hour in the gym was my sanctuary. When lockdowns came in I really struggled. I'm so glad I invested in a home gym."
  • "It's given me a valuable source of energy and mental resilience which was lost when I moved to working from home over a year ago. The impact of losing those casual human interactions in the office was greater than I expected."

Peaceful Lifting Image

What do the Experts Say about Exercise and Mental Health?

The evidence for the positive impact of exercise doesn't just come from stories like these - there's plenty of science backing it up too. Numerous studies over the last few decades have found that exercise can have a positive effect on your mental health. In particular, it is recognised for its role in reducing stress, anxiety, and even depression.

Just a small handful of studies on this include:

  • Association Between Physical Exercise and Mental Health in 1.2million Individuals in the USA - study found that individuals who regularly exercised reported 43.2% fewer days of poor mental health.
  • Exercise and Mental Health - study "recognizes the positive effects of exercise on mood states such as anxiety, stress and depression, through physiological and biochemical mechanisms" and notes that exercise "can contribute to better health outcomes in people suffering from mood disorders."
  • The Relation of Physical Activity and Exercise to Mental Health - study found that exercise can relieve mild to moderate depression, and that exercise "might provide a beneficial adjunct for alcoholism and substance abuse programs; improve self-image, social skills, and cognitive functioning; reduce the symptoms of anxiety."
  • Exercise and Mental Health: Many Reasons to Move - this article summarises several studies on exercise and mental health, concluding that "the overwhelming evidence present in the literature today suggests that exercise ensures successful brain functioning."
  • Mental Health Benefits of Strength Training in Adults - a study which finds that strength training is associated with reductions in anxiety symptoms; improvements in cognition; improvements in sleep quality; reductions in symptoms of depression among patients with diagnosed depression; reductions in fatigue symptoms; and improvements in self-esteem.

Strength Training Man

Important and Useful Mental Health Resources

Lastly, we'd like to leave you with some vital resources, which may be helpful if you or someone close to you is struggling with their mental health.

General Mental Health Resources

Specific Charities, Organisations, and Resources

Hopefully you have found something interesting, insightful or helpful in this article. 

Have your own story to tell about the positive impact exercise has on your mental health? Or want to bring a charity/another mental health resource to our attention? We'd love to hear from you. Send us a message via social media or email.

From everyone at Again Faster, look after yourselves, and remember that keeping your mind in great shape is just as important (if not more so) than your body. Be kind to yourself and lift when you can.

And please, don't be afraid to seek out help if you have any concerns about your mental health, or the mental health of anyone close to you.

Links and content last updated/checked 11/05/2021.