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1 In 3 Of Us Exercise To Combat Mental Health Struggles

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By FITNESS EDITOR | UPDATED: 08:28, 15 May 2020

PERSEVERING BRITS are turning to the mood-boosting benefits of exercise to remedy common mental health struggles and find peace in lockdown.

A survey of 1,006 UK adults commissioned by the North’s leading mid-market health club, Total Fitness, found that 38% of Brits use regular exercise to improve their mood and relieve stress – a coping mechanism which the health club believes will be adopted by many more as the lockdown continues.

In particular, the research revealed that women are leading the charge in exercising for mental health, with as many as 45% claiming to exercise on a regular basis to enjoy the mood-boosting benefits.

According to a recent study by the University of Sheffield and Ulster University, the day after the UK lockdown was announced 38% of Brits said they were suffering from depression and 36% claimed to be struggling with anxiety – something which has been found to be particularly prevalent in the younger generations.

However, practicing mindfulness is proven to reduce the effects of anxiety and built-up stress, and indeed Total Fitness’ data shows that 35% of young adults find that regular exercise helps them to be more mindful and in turn reduces anxiety.

The data also reveals that more than 1 in 4 people (27%) use exercise to take a moment to themselves. This is particularly true in the case of parents to primary school aged children (36%) and those looking after teenagers (33%).

The study also found that walking is the preferred form of exercise amongst UK adults with a staggering 94% of people going for regular walks, averaging just over 2 hours per week (2hrs 3 mins).

The second most popular exercise is running, with 60% of men and 31% of women heading out for a run at least once a week. This is followed by cycling which is popular amongst 51% of men and 30% of women.

Steven Virtue, Fitness Content and Programming Manager at Total Fitness, comments: “It’s a difficult and strange time for us all but it’s hugely uplifting to see that people are enjoying the positive effects of exercise during this time.

“There are huge benefits to be had from regular exercise, not only to physical health but to mental health too, as staying active is proven to release endorphins – the happy hormones – which can significantly reduce levels of stress and anxiety.

“For anyone who is perhaps nervous to try something new or unsure of where to start, there are plenty of resources available online that can help them find an activity that’s right for them – including advice articles, video classes and demonstrations.”

The study shows that adults living in Brighton are those most in favour of using exercise to improve their mental wellbeing (63%) followed by Edinburgh (48%) and Southampton (46%).

Total Fitness is the leading mid-market health club in the north and provides more ways to get fit, stay in shape, and more support to keep members focused. With 17 health clubs across the North of England and Wales, Total Fitness provides a full-service fitness offering; guided by knowledgeable and supportive fitness teams, the brand works hard to meet the individual needs of its members.

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