for better mental health

Dame Kelly Holmes on exercise & mental health

Friday, 22 April 2016 Mind's Membership team

On Sunday, double Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes, is running the London Marathon for Mind and four other charities as part of #KellysHeroes. In an excerpt from an exclusive interview with Mind’s Membership magazine, Dame Kelly shares some advice on sport and exercise and why she was inspired to run her first ever marathon.

Any advice for people who are nervous about exercising?

Everyone has to start somewhere. Every single person that you see exercising was a beginner once. Even if you just get out for a short walk, you should feel proud that you’re getting out there and doing something. And try not to worry about what other people think!

On sport and mental health

I think it’s good for you if you’re struggling, or feeling rubbish. Especially if you look after yourself in other ways too, like eating well. It definitely helps me to feel better about myself. 

On deciding to run the London Marathon

I went up to the marathon last year and supported a couple of friends and the atmosphere was just amazing. As it’s an Olympic year this year I wanted to do something big and this seemed like a good challenge! Plus, I’ve been through depression and anxiety myself and I really wanted to raise money and awareness for Mind so that other people can get the help they need.

On running…

Running’s very accessible, it’s social and it’s very cheap. All you need is a pair of trainers. I enjoy going for a run, if it’s just few miles with my favourite music playing. But I don’t think I’ll ever do another marathon, and I haven’t finished my first one yet!

On winning Sports Personality of the Year

Getting Sports Personality of the Year was great, because it’s the public that vote. The only way to win it is to do something which inspires the public in some way. I hadn’t thought about it too much before the event, but when I was there I realised how much winning would matter to me.

On what’s next…

I’m the sort of person who has to be working towards something – a goal or a target. That’s why I set up The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust in 2008, to transform the lives of young people facing disadvantage and support athletes as they transition from sport. It’s great!

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