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London Sport team shares their experience of mental health and physical activity

London Sport team shares their experience of mental health and physical activity

This week (13-20 May) is Mental Health Awareness Week and we took the opportunity to chat with the London Sport Team on what mental health means to them, and how physical activity can play a role in supporting this.

Take a look at whats some of them said below:

Katie Light, House of Sport Intern

Since leaving school I have developed OCD and anxiety, which worsened when going to university. This is something I have had to learn to deal with and continue to do so in my every day life. It has a huge impact on the little things I do every day but it has helped me really appreciate and understand the importance of mental health.

The one thing that I have found that helps me is keeping active and being outside and running is a new found love that has helped me with this. Whilst running I forget about the constant worries in my head and it allows me to just be me again. The joys of running mean it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are, anyone really can do it.

Chris Scott, Head of Corporate Communications

For me, being active is probably the best way to eliminate those little mental stresses that build up around every day life. After all, it’s far harder to fixate on this small frustration or that little irritation when you’re trying to focus on your breast-stroke, your running form, or even just the environment around you.

At different times since I moved to London a decade ago, I’ve found that everything from five-a-side football and running to swimming, walking and tag rugby has given me vital mental space to decompress, forget negative thoughts, or just have fun in a way which really helps my mental state. Being active has been a valuable prop during difficult times and a great boost during good ones.

Melanie Antao, Specialist Advisor for Funding

I have found physical activity and my mental wellbeing to be very much linked.  When I have been out with long term sports injuries , I have always noticed a huge dip in my mental health.

I felt alone and isolated and hated the fact that I was not able to do the thing I loved the most…in my case playing rugby and the associated training and people that came with it.  I felt ‘out of sight, out of mind’ with regards to my friends and teammates.  It made me feel incredibly low and I was so emotional…in tears over the smallest thing. 

I never really talked to anyone about my poor mental health, as I felt that no-one had time to really listen (saying and doing were two very different things).  Instead, I tried to keep myself busy with other things like getting involved with the non-playing side and being an extra pair of hands.

My first training session and first games back from injury always resulted in me smiling for days.

Rachel Rowe, Events Manager

As humans we are born to move, there are so many reasons why physical activity is good for your body, but for me the contribution it makes to my mental health and wellbeing is much greater.

Physical activity started as something I knew I ‘should do’, and has grown into something I choose to do and couldn’t live without. A good friend of mine always says – “running is the cheapest form of therapy” and I couldn’t agree more. It has become my number one tool to combat stress, ignite inspiration, boost self-esteem and improve my productivity.

Gary Palmer, Specialist Advisor for Children and Young People

Physical activity can have such a positive impact on mental health and well-being. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, it can raise optimism and self-esteem and perhaps most importantly it can help people to feel happier.

Andrew Lawton, Communications Officer

From a communications point of view, it’s great to see so many people willing to open up and speak about mental health and the benefits sport and physical activity has provided to them.

Those personal stories are so powerful and can really inspire more Londoners struggling with their own mental wellbeing to be more active.

It’s so important that we continue to shout about the benefits activity can have on people’s mental health as well as the obvious physical benefits.

Becca Mihill, Marketing and Communications Intern

Sport and physical activity has been such a huge part of my life since I can remember and it has shaped the person I am today in so many ways. In particular the sports teams and clubs I belong to have always been a constant in my life and this has provided me with a place to escape from stress or simply a bad day.

I think it’s so important that everyone has the opportunity to participate in physical activity and experience the physical and mental benefits it can bring. It’s incredible how much just a stroll in the park can clear your head and boost your mental well being.

Bethaney Hall, Children and Young People Officer

Mental wellbeing for me refers to how I feel about myself and how I view others on a day to day basis.

On days that I may be feeling worried, stressed or anxious I always try to schedule time for some activity as it makes me feel much more positive and relaxed after. For me the two  are definitely interconnected.

To find out more about the positive impact physical activity can have on mental health take a look here.

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