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Healthy Body Healthy Mind





Ever since the age of 11, I have near enough always played sport, so it was not until I allowed this to lapse for a year that I realised just how crucial exercise was for my emotional health. Cue lots of unpleasant changes:

  • A lowered tolerance of life’s stressors
  • Moments of huge self-doubt
  • An increase in negative feelings about life and my future


These changes played out in many ways so that things like bad motorists narked me much more to the point that I transformed into this seething beast behind the wheel. At other times I found myself in floods of tears as a result of things I had previously taken in my stride. Fortunately re-introducing exercise back into my life allowed me to get back onto more of an even keel, although I’m sure sales of Kleenex tissues must have taken a knock.

Working as a Psychotherapist I draw on my own experience and use the opportunity to point out the benefits of exercise to my clients. When you exercise your brain releases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and adrenaline. It is the mixture of these natural chemicals working together that help you to feel good and get rid of your tension.

For instance, how many of you can remember a time when you ended a stressful day at work or with your children, headed out for a run or to play tennis, only to find that when you returned home you felt as cool as a cucumber in contrast to the raging bull from earlier? And it’s important for children too for the very same reasons. They need to be out running free not sat in confined to their room playing their X Box.

Pharmaceutical companies claim that anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication are the answer to mental health problems but are they really? Several of my clients describe how such medications leave them feeling wiped out. This is a dramaticcontrast to the buzz you get after a good training session. And only now are we starting to truly understand the damaging effects long term use of medication can have on our body and brain.

If exercise appears to be so beneficial to our emotional well-being then why have not more people cottoned on to this idea?

One key thing about exercise is that its’ effects take time and the benefits may not happen right away. When faced with the choice of popping a pill which doctors (the all knowing experts in our society) claim is the cure, and getting out the house to meet a personal trainer or join a club, which is the easier option? And for someone who is already low and lacking motivation exercise might seem like too big a challenge. Unfortunately, as is so often the case in life, the easiest option is rarely the best in the long run.

Louise Bolam

UKCP registered Psychotherapist

Is available to work with children, young people and Adults

Please contact on 07879 683676 or email




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