This Sunday 17 awe-inspiring supporters will be taking on the London Marathon to raise money for PAPYRUS – we’d like to wish them all good luck. So far they have raised an incredible £7444.95. This is an important opportunity to reflect on the role exercise plays in many people’s lives.

The London marathon is one of those rare sporting events where enthusiastic amateurs in their first ever race join the best in the world. One thing they will all have in common is that it will hurt! However, there is a great amount of research that shows the benefits of exercise far outweigh the downsides.

On HOPELINE247, when we speak to someone who is struggling with their mental health and thoughts of suicide, it is often the case that, when they were feeling better, they spent a lot more time outside and exercising. Combining fresh air, exercise, screen-free time and a chance to relax the mind, it is easy to understand why outdoor exercise has been found to have a positive impact on mental health. More good news is that this impact can be felt whether you are an Olympic standard athlete, someone who has just got off the sofa or anyone in between.

The first, and most difficult, step is getting started. Once a routine is established the improvement in mental health can often feel magical. Possible treatments for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety vary greatly, but one such treatment can be exercise. Many people that we speak to may struggle with self-esteem and sleeping. Research has shown that exercise can be as effective as medication and psychotherapy as well as help us sleep better and boost low self-esteem.

Another common theme that we hear a lot about on HOPELINE247 is the theme of isolation and not having much of a social support network. Joining a running or exercise club could be a way of feeling the positive effects of socialising with like-minded people on top of all the psychological and physical benefits of doing exercise.

Having something to look forward to can be a strong positive influence on people with thoughts of suicide. By getting into running or exercise they could start entering races, giving themselves something to work towards and look forward to. In turn that could lead to doing some fundraising for a charity or cause close to their heart, again boosting their self-esteem and sense of purpose.

If you are struggling with your mental health, especially depression and anxiety, and you are able to exercise in some way, then we definitely recommend you give it a try.

If you are thinking of getting into running there is some good advice on how to run safely and sensibly by following this link:

Activity Alliance is a charity with a vision that disabled people are active for life:

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