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"It is exercise alone, that supports the spirits and keeps the mind in vigour."

Marcus Tullius Cicero.

lady stretching out in yoga position

28th April 2020

The link between physical health and mental health has been widely accepted and acknowledged for centuries.

In the times of the Greeks and the Romans, communities would have a gymnasium where people would engage in athletics. These structures were large, open air facilities and were a place of social gathering and health promotion.

These days, we have many options for keeping fit. At Fresh Air Fitness for example we have designed, manufactured and installed over 2000 outdoor gyms in the UK since 2007, all of which are completely free to use and can be enjoyed by the whole community.

It has always been our mission to make fitness available to everyone, everywhere. We believe regular exercise keeps both body and mind in great shape. As well as improving energy levels and stamina, exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on depression and anxiety. It relieves stress, improves memory, helps you sleep better, and boosts your overall mood.

Four types of exercise and why we need them

There are four different types of exercise: aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance. Doing a bit of each will help you to get a full range of health benefits. People tend to stick to one type based on what they enjoy, or what they think is most effective but, we should really be working towards including a bit of aerobics, strength, flexibility and balance training into our fitness schedule.


Aerobics is an all-round great type of exercise. It improves breathing efficiency, relaxes blood vessel walls, lowers blood pressure, burns body fat, lowers blood sugar levels, reduces inflammation, boosts mood, and more. If you do your aerobic training over the long term it can also reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls.

Aerobics doesn’t just have to be class-based, it also includes activities such as jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing and all of these have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression.

Strength Training

As we get older, we lose muscle mass. Strength training builds it back up. As well as feeling stronger, the benefits of strength training include bone growth, lowers blood sugar, assists with weight control, improves balance and posture, and reduces stress and pain in the lower back and joints.

Lifting weights is also said to focus the mind on the present. Mindfulness is all about focusing on the present. It is basically ‘headspace’. During weightlifting or strength training, a form of mindfulness comes from the act of making sure that each rep is performed correctly using intense concentration and focus.

Added to this, at the end of a hard set, the physical sensations sweeping through your body are so powerful, that it is almost impossible for your attention to be anywhere else, giving your mind an escape from any worry or stress.


Stretching helps maintain flexibility but it also stimulates receptors in the nervous system that slow the production of stress hormones.

As we get older, we experience a loss of flexibility in the muscles and tendons. Muscles that are inflexible tire easily and this can lead to cramps and pain, muscle damage, strains and falling.

Taking some time every day to stretch, focuses your mind on your body giving you a mental break. When you stretch, if you breathe deeply it will release all pent-up energy and prevent stress from setting in.

Fresh Air Fitness ‘Workouts at Home’ Series

If you are spending long periods of time at home, it is more important than ever to keep our body and mind strong. With this in mind, we have produced a varied and fun series of work outs with handy printable sheets.

Each work out focuses on different aspects of fitness and some on specific areas of the body. Check out our series so far which includes AEROBIC CARDIO, FULL BODY STRENGTH and ARMS. Keep checking back as we will be adding more, each week.

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