Our team Get Active for positive mental health!

Owen Griffkin, Mental Health Participation Officer, on a walk with PAVO colleagues

There is plenty of evidence that getting active is beneficial to your mental health. The Mental Health Foundation and Mind have both written extensively on the subject, and in previous blog posts we have featured Be Active as one of the Five Ways to Wellbeing.

This summer of sport we asked the members of our PAVO Health & Wellbeing team: “How does a sport or physical activity that you take part in impact positively on your mental health and emotional wellbeing…?”

Here are some of the team’s favourite ways to exercise to good mental health.

Andrew Davies – Participation Officer, Health & Wellbeing
Tug of War

For the past two years members of our local young farmers’ club have competed in the tug of war competition in the county Rally. The team is in its early years so far. 

I have taken the role of assistant coach which has been a privilege and has also helped with my mental health. It means that I get to spend time in a more masculine company, as working in a more feminine work environment and living with two daughters I do not spend much time in the company of other men. It is something that I did not realise I missed until having that time.
Ceri Williams – formerly a Health & Promotion Facilitator, now a Community Connector

Pilates for me is grounding. Now that I am able to do a live class from my home I feel I can relax in to it more and can hold on to the peacefulness through the evening and there is no self consciousness if I suddenly realise I can’t hold the pose for long.

Jackie Newey – Mental Health Information Officer
Drystone walling

I don’t go to a gym but for me drystone walling is the “green” equivalent of “pumping iron” in our garden. It involves gathering, and then arranging, many extremely heavy rocks! And before that the wall foundations have to be dug.

I have to concentrate so hard on finding the best shaped rocks for the wall that it takes my mind to a completely different place, away from any day-to-day worries and wholly immersed in the activity.
The sheer physical effort of lifting the rocks into place surely releases some feel good factor exercise hormones! The walls can take some time to build. Time well spent in regard to my mental wellbeing.
Jen Hawkins – Communications Officer / Health & Wellbeing Information Officer
Spin class

Jen on a smoothie bike at a recent staff day!

I was missing my endorphin high from running due a knee injury and needed something to replace it. I love walking and swimming but I don’t get quite the same benefits to my mental or physical health. I’d avoided Spinning for years as the thought of taking part in a spin class terrified me. As a last resort I pushed myself to join a class last year. I was completely out of my comfort zone, I didn’t know anyone and was really nervous. It was hard work and I knew I’d had a work out at the end of the session.

To my surprise I loved it. The pace of the class, the music and the sense of achievement, whilst feeling part of a group and getting to know new people, gave me a real mental boost when I was feeling incredibly low and not myself at all. I’ve now got more of a spring in my step and I’ll continue to spin even when I start running again.
Lucy Taylor – Startwell Officer

I love horse riding and would like to do more. When you ride it is a partnership with the horse, you cannot ride without their cooperation. I think it helps your mental health as horses ask nothing from you, nothing more than you can give that day. They are very good listeners and do not ask questions. The daily tasks of mucking out and grooming give you a repetitive task that is relaxing.

Owen Griffkin – Participation Officer, Mental Health

Now the sun is trying its best to return from its winter break, I have started playing more tennis at Llandrindod Tennis Club. I’ve even joined the league team, playing in the Montgomeryshire League. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and found it very beneficial for my physical and mental wellbeing.

Sharon Healey – Head of Health, Wellbeing & Partnerships
Walking & cycling
I start most days with a 1.5 mile walk around my village. It gives me a positive start to the day and helps my mental well being and physical health. Living in the countryside, close to a large river, often gives me the opportunity to see wildlife playing early in the morning whilst walking.

At weekends my husband and I like to cycle to a point of interest or a cafe. We enjoy taking part in an activity together which is environmentally friendly and often has a reward of cake at the end!

Sue Newham – Engagement Officer Health & Wellbeing and Lead Officer Mental Health
Jive class

Over five years ago, my husband and I went along to a local jive class, where we spent a bumbling but cheerful year in the beginners’ class. Circumstances meant we couldn’t go any more, but recently I started to see FaceBook adverts for another jive class, sadly when my husband is working.

Recently, I took the plunge and went along. I was as uncoordinated at jive as I knew I would be, but the people were friendly and accepting. The two hours passed really quickly. It was fun! I went home and ordered some proper dance shoes to protect my knees against twisting. I’ve been twice now and am so glad I took the plunge. No way are you getting a photo of me dancing, but you can see my dance shoes! 🙂

Thanks to everyone in the team for telling us about their favourite sport and exercise. Let us know in the comments box below about how you are “getting active” for positive mental wellbeing.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Add Comment *

Name *

Email *