Photograph showing walkers with Scarborough Mind. Image provided courtesy of Mind.
Photograph showing walkers with Scarborough Mind. Image provided courtesy of Mind.

Active heart, active mind for better mental health

4 min


Mind and ASICS launch scheme to boost physical and mental health

A new scheme designed to improve both our physical and mental health has been launched by a leading mental health charity alongside sports’ brand ASICS.

Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind launched the Get Active Connectors project earlier this summer.

The area is one of seven locations where the project will be running for the next 12 to 18 months.

Other localities include: West Sussex Mind, Mid and North Powys Mind together with Neath Port Talbot Mind, Devon Mind, Islington Mind and Wirral Mind and Conwy Mind.

The project is designed to encourage more people across the country to get moving, by introducing them to the benefits of physical activity for mental wellbeing in a friendly, inclusive environment.

‘At first I was quite daunted by joining but it’s just nice to get out and have a chat and a walk, with or without a dog,’ says Louise who is part of the Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind dog walking group

‘You meet different people each time and it might just be one part of their day when they get to see somebody and actually talk. It stops you dwelling on things and when you walk you get that peace and quiet that makes you feel better.’

Physical activity’s important role in mental health

Mind points to a recent survey which suggests that almost two thirds of people feel physical activity should be offered alongside medication and talking therapy.

The charity says nearly half of people who aren’t active say it’s because they are too tired to participate. They add that more than two in five people are put off exercising as they feel self-conscious about their body.

Around one in five people say they don’t want to take part as they’re worried about doing it by themselves.

‘We know that physical activity can play a vital role in the lives of people with mental health problems, reducing the risk of depression by up to 30%,’ explains Hayley Jarvis, Head of Physical Activity for Mind.  

‘Unfortunately we also know that many people who do want to move more are being held back by their mental health, whether that’s feelings of low self-confidence, exhaustion, or fear of crowded spaces.’

‘Our research suggests that getting active can help improve people’s resilience and build their support networks.’

‘Getting active can help you to stay well and live well with mental health problems. Our Get Active Connectors can help you to become active in your local community.’

‘We are delighted to be working with our charity partner ASICS to support even more people with mental health problems to become more physically active.’

Mind: supporting people and building confidence

Local Mind representatives at sites in England and Wales will be supporting people at risk of or experiencing mental health problems to build their confidence to try new activities.

Organisers say this could be on their own, with a group or at the local leisure centre. They point to the benefits of simple walking and exercises which can be safely undertaken at home.

Funded as part of Mind’s charity partnership with sports brand ASICS, it’s hoped the project will help remove some of the many barriers facing people with mental health problems to get active.

‘Now more than ever, we need to take action. Recent years have put more strain on the mental health of millions of people,’ says Gary Raucher, Executive Vice President, ASICS EMEA.

‘While we know movement can help people feel better, the reality is that people are moving less and less. We want to change that.’

‘At ASICS, our five letters have meaning. ASICS is an acronym for the Latin phrase Anima Sana In Corpore Sano or a Sound Mind in a Sound Body.’

‘We’ve always believed in the positive impact of movement on the mind and we are delighted to be working with Mind to support even more people to become more physically active.’

Organisers say that people who have taken part in Mind’s previous physical activity programmes have found it’s helped them to feel more resilient and better able to cope with challenging life events.

The hope is that people will benefit similarly from this new programme with Get Active Connectors working one-to-one with participants to provide the right support to get them moving and boost their mood.

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