Joe Wicks shares top tips to get moving and boost your mental health


Joe Wicks wants us to get moving again (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

It’s not exactly groundbreaking news, but it bears repeating: moving our bodies really does do us a lot of good.

That’s not just in terms of our physical selves.

With all the cumulative stress of the last years, now more than ever we need to be looking after our mental health – and moving our bodies is a key part of that.

We know this, but this can be easier said than done. Finding the motivation to get up and have a dance around the kitchen is tricky, especially when staying under a blanket on the sofa feels so good.

To help get us moving, Joe Wicks has teamed up with mental health charity Mind to share his top tips for making physical activity part of our everyday routines.

‘I always feel amazing after a long bike-ride, a sweaty HIIT session or a walk around the park,’ Joe says. ‘Even when I’m feeling completely unmotivated, I remind myself how much better, happier and more energised I feel after I work out.

‘Whether you get outside for a walk or make time for a five-minute stretch – moving your body will lift your mood.

‘That’s why I’m so proud to support Move for Mind. It’s a perfect opportunity to find a movement which works for you, while raising vital funds for an important cause.’

Sounds good to us. So let’s get into those tips…


joe wicks

It’s all about small, easy changes

How to start getting more active for your mental health

Start off slowly. It may take a while to build up your fitness. Doing too much at first will make you feel tired and may put you off.

Plan a realistic and achievable routine. Try to find ways to be active that fit into your day-to-day life around your existing commitments, or build activity into your daily life. Trying to move a bit more every day can really help.

Be kind to yourself. Sometimes you can’t be as active as you would like, and your energy levels will vary on different days. It’s fine to slow down or take a break. Take each day at a time and celebrate even the smallest of wins.

Try to identify your triggers and work around them. For example, if you find leaving the house difficult or don’t like to exercise in front of other people, you could try doing some exercise at home.

Keep trying. It may take a while to find an activity you like. As well as trying different activities, you may find that you prefer a particular class, instructor or group.

Try not to compare yourself to other people. Set your own goals based on your own abilities and what you would like to achieve. Try to pay attention to how you are feeling and the progress you are making rather than other people. Avoid over-exercising, as this can be harmful.

Set yourself a goal. If you feel a goal would be helpful, and you’d like to support Mind at the same time, visit Move for Mind.



How getting active can help your mental health

Studies have shown that doing physical activity can improve our mental health. For example, it can help with:

  • better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day
  • happier moods – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy
  • managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times
  • better self-esteem – being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals
  • reducing the risk of depression – studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
  • connecting with people – doing group or team activities can help you meet new and like-minded people, and make new friends. In fact, a new poll by Mind has found 39% of Brits say exercise has given them the opportunity once or multiple times, to talk about their mental health in the last six months.

Activities to give a go

If hitting the gym is your bag, good for you. Or perhaps you’re more of a team sports person – that’s great too.

Things become a bit trickier when you don’t have a go-to physical activity that you know you love.

It’s so much easier to exercise when it’s in a form that you enjoy. The way to find such a thing? Give some different stuff a go.

Mind and Joe recommend trying these habits…

Out and about:

  • Walk a bit more – to work, to the shops, or to the end of the road and back.
  • Play a game in the park – frisbee, tag or a game of catch.
  • Try a new sport, or join a team, group or exercise class
  • Find your local leisure centre – leisure centres have a range of sports facilities, such as badminton and squash courts, and run exercise classes and groups, such as Zumba and aerobics.
  • Get involved with an outdoor volunteering project.
  • Try a dance class – from swing to ballroom, or dancercise.
  • Join a walking or running group

At home:

  • Try to sit less – if you spend lots of time sitting down, try to get up and move around a bit every hour. If you’re worried you might forget, you could set an alarm to remind yourself.
  • Chair-based exercises – if you have mobility problems, a physical condition, or find it difficult spending time out of a chair, the NHS website has activity routines you can try while sitting down.
  • Do an online activity programme – there are lots of free, online exercise regimes designed for you to try at home, including everything from chair-based exercises to yoga and cardio workouts – including the Body Coach TV on YouTube.
  • Dance – put on some music while you’re cooking and dance around your kitchen, or have a mini dance party with your friends or family.

To find out more tips and get involved in Move For Mind, head to the Mind website.

To chat about mental health in an open, non-judgmental space, join our Mentally Yours Facebook group.

Follow us on Twitter at @MentallyYrs.



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