Physical activity and your mental health

Information about how physical activity can help your mental health, and tips for choosing an activity that works for you, and how to overcome anything that might stop you from becoming more active.

Your stories

Tackling anxiety and taking on Mind Hike

Nikki shares her story of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and signing up for Mind Hike.

Posted on 15/03/2019

Cold comfort: How sea swimming boosts my mental health

Rhiannon reveals how sea swimming has helped with her PTSD and depression.

Posted on 22/11/2018

The ups and downs of running with bipolar disorder

Laura blogs about why she's found running and training for races quite difficult mentally at times.

Laura H
Posted on 18/03/2015

Useful contacts

Who else could help?

Active Partnerships
A network of 43 local organisations across England that support sport and physical activity opportunities for participants, coaches and volunteers. Has a search tool to find your nearest partnership, with opportunities to be active in your local area.

Activity Alliance
Supports disabled people to become more active. Provides information about how to start, where to find inclusive programmes and gyms, and personal stories about getting more active with a disability.

Be Inspired
Guides on how to get started with a range of different sports, including how to find a local organisation and clubs, as well as ideas for exercising on a budget, and with a disability.

Carry on Gardening
Practical tips for gardening for emotional wellbeing, especially for anybody with a disability.

Disability Sports Wales
Provides a search function to help you find organisations and classes in Wales offering inclusive activities for people with disabilities, including behavioural and learning difficulties.

Get Set to Go
Mind offers physical activity programmes for people with mental health problems through local Minds and online.

Let’s Walk Cymru
Organises groups walks and provides walking information for Wales.

NHS Live Well
Offers resources on physical activity, including tips on being more active, exercise programmes and the Couch to 5K app, and activity ideas if you have a physical disability or if you're on a budget. Includes information on finding classes for walking, cycling, dance, yoga, pilates and Tai Chi.

Organises free, weekly, 5km timed runs across the UK, which are open to everyone.

Organises group walks in cities and the countryside, and has information about walks and getting started.

Run Together
A directory of running groups across the UK. Supports mental health via a network of Mental Health Champions and #runandtalk events.

Social Farms & Gardens
Has a directory of community farms and gardens around the UK.

Provides information about taking up cycling, including information about cycle safety, and ideas and maps for local rides.
Has a search tool to find your local swimming pool, information about adult swim classes and water-based sports, as well as pool exercises you can do on your own.

The Conservation Volunteers (TCV)
Runs free outdoor sessions working on conservation projects around the UK.

The National Trust
Outdoor spaces around the UK.

The Wildlife Trusts
Runs outdoors volunteering opportunities around the UK.

The Woodland Trust
Has information about woodland walks and activities around the UK.

This Girl Can
Ideas to help anyone who identifies as female become more active, providing information about a wide range of sports and other activities, including ways to add more activity in your day-to-day life.

Walking for Health
Supports a network of walking groups across England.

This information was published in March 2019. We will revise it in 2022.


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