Courtesy of The Raithwaite Estate Spa, N Yorks

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to


Exercise Jan

by Juliet Wheater


Who couldn’t do with a lift in this continued crazy world we’re living in right now? In these uncertain and anxious times, not only are we dealing with numerous stressors but many of us our finding the lockdown and post-Christmas pounds still creeping on. How about if we could find a way to help with both our physical and mental health?

Now we all know that exercise can help trim our waistlines and boost our energy levels, but it turns out that exercise could be more important to your mental health than even your economic status. In a study in The Lancet carried out by researchers from Oxford and Yale, they looked at links between mood and exercise across a sample of 1.2 million Americans.

The key findings were that people who exercise are on the whole happier than those that don’t. If you’re a numbers’ person then those that do exercise tend to feel bad for approximately 35 days a year, while those that don’t exercise can feel down for 53 days a year.

In fact researchers also found that the happiness boosting effect of exercise was worth about $25,000 a year (the amount extra you’d need to earn to not exercise but have a similar level of happiness according to the study).

The study also observed a U-shaped curve between sport duration and mental health. The optimum amount of training for happiness is 3 to 5 sessions a week of between 30 - 60 minutes each. So, little and often is considered best. 

However, working out has been made a little trickier since our UK gyms have sadly had to close their doors again recently. 

Closing gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools under COVID-19 restrictions is costing the UK, on average, £7.25m in lost social value and around £90m in sector revenue for every week of lockdown, ukactive recently warned.

The cost to operators based on lost membership fees, despite furlough, business rate support and grants, is estimated to be on average £90m per week, however, the reality is that January losses could be much higher based on it being a key period for new joiners and renewals.

On top of the economic cost if facilities are forced to remain closed, the loss of social value which they provide represents a major threat to the health and wellbeing of communities.

UKSA partner, UKactive go on to say that, evidence from data specialists 4Global shows that November’s lockdown restrictions on fitness and leisure venues cost more than £29m in terms of missed health-related social value savings.

Modelling shows the sector was due to generate health savings of £32.8m in November, yet only realised £3.3m of these, as the majority of services were forced to close.

The figures are calculated based on the sector’s savings made by contributing to the reduction, through exercise, of the following health conditions: stroke, breast cancer, colon cancer, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, depression, and self-reported good health. Sixty-six per cent of cancer prehab and rehab services are provided in leisure centres.

Analysis of the first lockdown in England showed that anxiety levels doubled compared to the 2019 average, with an extra 3.4 million people classed as inactive, undertaking less than 30 minutes of exercise a week.

Until we can re-enter our gym’s again, perhaps take the opportunity to work out outside in nature with a friend and advise your clients to do so too. There are many benefits to this such as: 

Accountability: if one of you becomes unmotivated, the other can help re-motivate! Guilt can be a huge motivator in itself, specifically of not wanting to disappoint your friend. 

Fun: together exercise can be much more enjoyable. Its social and can even provide a little bit of friendly competition. 

Safer: running through open countryside, the woods, or past the city canal is safer in pairs. Mornings and evenings are currently dark and even the days can be misty, with little light hours. 

Journey: if you’re looking to lose a few pounds, or wish to run a little further, perhaps take up heavier weights. An exercise buddy can share this journey with you. Together you’ll celebrate all those little wins that eventually make it up to the big achievement, you’ve been working towards. 

(For the full post UKactive post, see their website or follow the link below)

As wellness professionals we need to continue to engage and encourage our clients but do still need to make the time for ourselves also. Ask yourself, ‘What time of day do I like to work out?’ and by keeping active and making this happen regularly, you concentrate on the importance of fitness and it thus becomes routine. 

Habitual immune boosting diets will keep us feeling happier overall plus reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress. 

Savour that morning coffee, light a candle on dark days, use breathe work and jot down all that you are grateful for and get good quality sleep. Navigating our own self-care whilst prioritising the needs of others, can be difficult but it is essential to carve out time for ourselves. 



No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 19 April 2021

Our Sponsors