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Why exercise is so important to me and my mental health

by Rachael – 19th Feb 2018

I have always struggled with my Mental health/wellbeing from the age of 11 to when I was first diagnosed with anxiety. I have tried many coping strategies over the years, but the one thing that has always helped ground or calm me down was exercise, from going to the gym, a little walk with my daughter, to weightlifting or rugby.

I know exercise is not something that would work for everyone and this isn’t me saying it will work for you, but it is something that has helped me way more than I ever thought it would.

A sense of accomplishment

When I was bad with my anxiety and I didn’t want to even get out of bed on a morning or even go outside. I would workout in the living room or make myself go for a walk with my daughter. Once I was able to go for a 10-minute walk I would up the length of time I would walk for. This is when I noticed my mood was changing and I had a sense of accomplishment once I had arrived home from walking. No matter how difficult I was finding the day I had still managed to go for a walk and complete something that I wanted to do that day. I noticed my mood was improving which was due to the endorphin release that happens during exercise.


Nearly nine years on since I first started to struggle with my mental wellbeing, and exercise is such a staple in my life. I have made it through the hard times I never thought I would –  and I still struggle now and again. When I notice that my anxiety is getting more prominent in my life or my mood is lowering, I make time to exercise as it gives me a focus throughout this.

Setting goals

I find from being able to set so many different goals through exercise, I get a feeling of self-fulfilment. I have completed so many different goals in the gym and there’s so many more for me to set and work towards, from lifting weights which is my favourite thing to do in exercise, to being able to run both on a treadmill to outside (which I never thought I’d be able to do due to my anxiety). I have grown to love exercise from a girl who would not even take part in PE in high school, just for what it has done personally in my wellbeing. I have noticed my strength, stamina improve over the years.

Even now if my daughter pays an interest in sport as she did with gymnastics after watching the 2016 Olympics, I take her, so she can have a go. She currently goes to gymnastics and swimming, which I love seeing her accomplish all the new moves/techniques she works towards and seeing her smile afterwards and her being proud of herself is the best feeling, and this is the main reason why exercise and sport is so important to me, because even on the worst days, being able to accomplish something new within something you have passion for will give me some form of confidence and happiness. How focusing on exercise helps with my anxiety.


Categories: Self help
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Comments

  1. I notice the difference when I don’t exercise! It can be hard as sometimes I don’t feel in the mood, but I try remind myself of how much it helps.

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