Women with mental health problems are not exercising because of bad experiences with PE at school – putting them at greater risk of poor physical and mental health, charity Mind has warned.
A recent Mind poll found that more than half of women (57%) do not participate in sport because they were not good at PE at school while 43% feel it is too competitive.
In addition, 85% of women with mental health problems did not participate in sport because they don’t feel confident in their sporting ability. More than half (56%) told the charity they are not ‘gym body ready’, saying they are not members of sports clubs, gyms or leisure centres, because they are embarrassed about their body shape or size.
In response, Mind has launched a new motivational website to help women with mental health problems choose a sport which is suitable for them, enabling them to take the first step and get active to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
Women with mental health problems are more likely to have physical health problems such as diabetes and heart disease so being active can be important for looking after their physical health. Mind’s new website is part of the charity’s physical activity project, Get Set to Go, supported by Sport England and the National Lottery. It asks people to select reasons stopping them from exercising, and provides practical tips and real life stories to inspire people take the first step, and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.
Hayley Jarvis, community programmes manager (sport) at Mind, said: “We know that having a mental health problem can make getting active more difficult. The thought of joining a running group when you have bipolar disorder, depression or OCD can stop you in your tracks – but a mental health problem doesn’t have to prevent anybody from getting active. Our new website is full of practical tips and inspirational real life stories which can help people take the first step, and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle.
“Being active can be an enjoyable, fun and social way of looking after your physical and mental health. Lots of people tell us it is a great way to socialise and make new friends – and there is a huge number of activities people can do if they struggle with social situations or new faces.”
For more information and to find out about projects in your area go to: getsettogo.mind.org.uk/.