Five groups that combine exercise with boosting mental health





Five groups that combine exercise with stimulating mental health – Positive News























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It’s that time of year when many of us want to get fit. But what if you could combine exercise with a mental boost? These groups do just that

It’s that time of year when many of us want to get fit. But what if you could combine exercise with a mental boost? These groups do just that

exercise classes

1. Bolt Run Club

When Jack Duddy’s best friend Adam Bolton committed suicide in 2019, Duddy (pictured) struggled with his grief. He eventually turned to running “to heal and gather my emotions”. The vegan chef has now launched Bolt, a weekly running club based in Crystal Palace Park, London, for “anyone who needs a place to chat and some company to run with”.

Image: Bolt

exercise classes

2. Mental Health Swimming

“Dips, no distance” is the maxim at Rachel Ashe’s social enterprise, Mental Health Swims. It started with Ashe (pictured) organizing swims at her local beach in Swansea for anyone like her who struggled with mental health. Volunteer-led gatherings now take place at 80 locations across the UK, with a swim or paddle, tea, cake and then a 10-minute pick-up.

Image: Swimming for Mental Health

3. MTB for Mental Health

Katie Marlow’s very first mountain bike ride in 2018 was “one of the wettest days imaginable with rain coming down in sheets”, but she felt “the joy that suddenly came back into me”. After realizing how much cycling helped her cope with her own depression, Marlow, from South Yorkshire, organized monthly Wellness Rides to introduce others to the mental and physical benefits.

Image: Katie Marlow

4. The Wave Project

In 2010, Joe Taylor led a six-week pilot project in Watergate Bay, Cornwall, where 20 young people with mild to severe mental health problems got one on one surf lessons. It was the UK’s first ‘surf therapy’ course funded by the NHS. The charity now carries out projects for 8-21 year olds, referred by schools and the mental health and social services, anywhere in the UK.

Image: Megan Hemsworth

Gym Lessons in London

5. The real blokes club

In September 2020, Scott Johnson (pictured) shared videos on Facebook of him walking around South East London, talking about his struggles with anxiety as he went. He urged other men to join him, saying “don’t suffer in silence, boys”. Now Johnson’s Proper Blokes Club aims to counter a ‘man-up culture’ with weekly walks and chats in Southwark, Greenwich, Woolwich and Wallington.

Image: Scott Johnson
Main image: Megan Hemsworth

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