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Blog: Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 – Movement for Mental Health

With grateful thanks to our guest blogger Lucy Taylor, founder of Decades Reloaded based in Stanway, Essex (decadesreloadedfitness.com)

14 May 2025

For many who experience difficulties with their mental health or have a mental health related condition, the thought of “move for your mind” can sound like the most daunting and tedious challenge. Fatigue, loss of motivation and losing interest in the things which we enjoy are often symptoms of a negative change in our mental health. So why on earth would you want to add something that requires energy and motivation into your daily routine?

If the last thing you want to do is be around people or step out of your comfort zone, why would anyone suggest going to the gym or trying out a new exercise class? The idea of starting from scratch can be more than intimidating enough. Even when mental health is at its best.

Hi, I am Lucy,


I have borderline personality disorder. I ask these questions because they are all ones I have asked before. It is my job to teach exercise for a living, yet even today walking into a gym is intimidating. I used to find group exercise classes equally terrifying (I still do at times) and would stand at the back or cancel at the last minute.

I have made it my mission to support the local community in overcoming mental health related barriers to physical activity and maintaining a long-term positive relationship with moving for the tremendous benefits it can have on the mind. There are many ways we can move our bodies; we have options and options are good!

Some people like to do the more obvious and join a gym or exercise class, or perhaps start running. However, this is not always the most appealing and can come with more barriers to overcome before starting, the increase in exercising online has helped more people find exercise accessible, but it’s not for everyone and with so much to choice where do you start?

I will always recommend anyone speaking to me about getting active to write down a list of things they enjoy and start there, if it’s fun you are more likely to stuck to it.

So how can we move for our minds in a fun engaging way?


There are many ways we can add moving for our minds into our day-to-day activities. Here are some of my favourites:

  •  Move to music – music is motivating and uplifting
  • By walking or cycling short journeys instead of taking a car
  • Getting out and pottering around in the garden
  •  Walking the dog, animals make fantastic companions, they listen when we talk without judgement or expectations, they don’t answer back and the are usually up for walkies!
  •  Doing a bit of DIY at home, can provoke feelings of accomplishment and break a sweat! Those marks on the walls and the wonky shelf won’t be bothering you as you stare at them eating your tea later, satisfied with your handy work.
  •  The housework (yes, I said it!) Clean home, clean mind! Clear the clutter, sing into the cleaner bottle and whip hoover round to your favourite songs.
  •  Popping on your favourite playlist whilst you are cooking and having a kitchen boogie.
  • Meeting up with friends to walk around the town.
  • Play with your children, hide and seek, football, tag, invite them to help sprucing up an outdoor space or go on a treasure hunt through the woods.
  • Take a lunch time stroll on working days, ensuring you get a break from work.
  •  Volunteer to do odd jobs for someone who needs support in the community, helping others is another great way to boost your own feelings of value and purpose, whilst keeping you moving.

None of these things need to cost money and have fantastic benefits for your mental health. Some of us will prefer to move alone and take time to disconnect and to be alone in our own thoughts. Others may prefer to move with others. Socialisation is proven to increase feelings of support and belonging, further enhancing the benefits of moving together.

People who exercise together often form long lasting valuable friendships of great quality. That over time become a support network of people we actively look forward to being around, so we think less about the physical activity and focus on the social activities.

 

 

Lucy Taylor is a mental health advocate and founder of Decades Reloaded. To find out more information about Decades Reloaded, visit decadesreloadedfitness.com

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