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MINDBODY app UK men's health week
Local
Published Friday Jun 07, 2019 by Lydia Cardona

Why More UK Men Are Exercising for Their Mental Health

Fitness
Personal Growth

More than 52%¹ of men in the UK believe it’s important to look physically attractive. 

But, new research¹ conducted by MINDBODY reveals that looking good may not be the only reason many men return to the gym again and again. 

- On an average day, 35% of men would rate their overall happiness/mental wellbeing at 3/5, 5 being most content.
- Thirty-one percent of men are somewhat anxious or stressed daily.

 
Before this year’s Men’s Health Week, MINDBODY researchers set out to determine the reasons why men in the UK initially signed up to the gym and whether their reasons changed after attending.


The top 5 reasons men first join a gym are to:

1.     Increase their overall fitness levels (64%).
2.     Build muscle (35%).
3.     Make healthier choices throughout the day/week e.g., food/drink (28%).
4.     Help their mental health (25%).
5.     Increase their confidence (25%).
 

Sixty-four percent of men said their motives for continuing to go to a gym didn’t change, while 29% had changed somewhat, and 7% said their reasons had changed completely.


The top 3 reasons men continue going to the gym are to:

1.     Increase their fitness levels (29%).
2.     Make healthier choices throughout the day/week (26%).
3.     Keep on top of their mental health (17%).

 

With men whose reasons had changed for going to the gym still showing an interest in keeping their mental health on track, MINDBODY researchers did a deeper dive into men’s attitudes toward their emotional wellbeing.²

They found that, on an average day, 13% would rate their overall happiness or mental wellbeing at 5/5 (5 being content) compared to 35% who would rate it at 3/5. As a result, 31% are somewhat anxious or stressed daily.

"As people progress in exercise, they begin to develop stronger, faster, and more coordinated muscles which help build their confidence as they grow,” said Nick Davies, Sports Performance Mind Coach at NDSP. “What's more, exercise, like any endeavor, has its fair share of ups and downs and we learn, or reinforce, that losing is not the end, but something you strive to overcome, and this is where you develop mental strength. 
 
Whatever activity you choose to participate in, make sure you enjoy it. The enjoyment side of exercise contributes to the endorphins that the brain releases, which has an extremely positive impact on your mental and physical wellbeing."
 
Physical movement became medicine for Leon Taylor, Olympic Silver Medalist, after the family doctor labelled him a ‘problem’ child’ due to his hyperactivity, he said.

“My parents would attempt to tire me out, so I did all the physical activity I could for my age. Then something magical happened; I became easier to manage. It’s widely known the negative effects of inactivity on someone’s physical health and the associated risk of disease, but what is concerning to me is the link between inactivity and someone’s mental health,” says Taylor.

“As MINDBODY’s research indicates, feeling anxious and overwhelmed is so commonplace today. I’d argue that we spend too much time stuck in our heads and not enough in our bodies, as overthinking can lead to psychological stress. When we start to move, our brain releases a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) to protect us from stress; at the same time, endorphins are released. BDNF acts as a reset switch, which is why we often feel so at ease after moving. Long-term, consistent physical movement changes the structure of our brain, boosts self-esteem, and decreases biological action to psychological stress, which is an enemy to mental health. Physical movement is our best weapon to respond.”
 
Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing at MINDBODY, comments on the research findings: 

“It’s no secret that there is a stigma around men being hesitant to speak about their mental health. However, whilst our research reveals that a third of men would only rate their overall happiness/mental wellbeing at 3/5, it’s great to see that men realise the fantastic benefits exercise can have on their wellbeing, both physically and mentally!”
 
Looking to boost your body and mind? Download the MINDBODY app or explore new fitness on MINDBODY.io
 


1.     Research taken from YouGov Profiles in May 2019
2.     Survey of 1,148 UK men who have been to the gym and/or studio in the last week, undertaken in May 2019
3.     Research taken from MINDBODY’s Wellness Index undertaken in February 2018
 
Lydia Cardona
Written by
Lydia Cardona
PR and Content Specialist, EMEA Marketing
About the author
A self-confessed exercise and sports junkie, Lydia made the transition from fashion to wellness, handling media relations in the U.K. In her spare time, you'll most likely find her hitting up a MINDBODY studio, shopping for houseplants, or walking the family Pomchi.
Yoga sleep tips MINDBODY
Wellness
Published Wednesday Sep 18, 2019 by Amber Scriven

4 Yoga Poses for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga
Personal Growth
Expert Advice

We’ve all had sleepless nights. It’s the worst! Watching the wee hours of morning tick away. Wishing we could slip into a restful sleep before our alarm goes off . The frustrating feeling of knowing exactly how many minutes there are before you need to be up. Then, struggling through a heavy relentless morning filled with self-medicating coffee runs, and a tired, snappy version of yourself dragging through the day. 

There’s no one miracle cure for insomnia because there are so many reasons for not being able to sleep. Many people, however, find relief by curbing stress right before bed. One way to do that is with a few choice yoga stretches that mellow you out by encouraging your Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS) to ignite your bodies “rest and digest” cycles. This is the opposite of the “fight or flight” system that helps you race away from oncoming tigers, or other more urban “dangers.”  

Here are a few shapes that calm the nervous system and decrease adrenaline in the body to help you rest and ultimately sleep better. 
 

Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

1
Legs-Up-the-Wall

This is a super simple way to relax right before bed, or even from the comfort of your bed. Pushing your legs up the wall helps move the lymph and blood out of your feet using gravity, this, in turn, means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard to pump it back up. Thus, things get a little quieter in your cardiovascular system helping to soothe your body into a sense of softness.

Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

2
Supported Bridge (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

This shape uses the same idea as Legs-Up-the-Wall. It calms by inverting your hips above your heart, but it also stretches your neck and chest open for tension relief. The muscles can open and let go of anything they are holding onto. It also opens your lungs and diaphragm, which allows you to breathe more deeply, and that oxygen is a calmant.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

3
Child’s Pose (Balasana)

Folding forward in Child’s Pose works a little differently. It still opens the lungs (from the upper back), but it requires you to turn inwards. You could bring your hands by your sides for a more restorative version of the shape, and resting your head to one side or the other is often more comfortable. Alternatively, try resting your forehead on a block or the floor, and use that surface to massage the space between your eyebrows. This triggers an acupressure point between your eyebrows that stimulates the pineal gland to encourage a melatonin response. Melatonin is the hormone our bodies produce when it gets dark that tells us to go to sleep!

Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

4
Reclined Bound Angle (Supta Baddha Konasana)

Use a couple pillows for this one! Pop one under your knees, one under your head or upper back, along your spine, and under your hands.Then, get ready to  fall asleep there. Let everything get heavy and drippy and start to think about that weighted sensation in your feet, slowly bring your attention up your body making each body part heavier and heavier as you go. This is a version of Yoga Nidra Meditation and it is extremely relaxing—but you must go slowly. 


So, there you have it! A few ideas from yoga, science, and acupressure to help you get some much-deserved ZZZ’s. 
 

Amber Scriven Acupuncturist
Written by
Amber Scriven
Acupuncturist | Yoga Teacher
About the author
A busy acupuncturist, yoga teacher and trainer, Amber has actively worked in the wellness industry for over 10 years. For her, yoga is a form of health care that she uses alongside acupuncture in the form of retreats, injury rehabilitation, and pain relief. Amber is renowned for building emotional strength while cultivating physical health.