Brighter Days – Move your body!

By Kayleigh R Bradshaw.

Running, Sport, Race, Athlete, Hall

Image from Pixabay.

I’ve covered a lot of self-care and wellness tips so far and I really hope their helping! Remember, although I am a qualified mental health advocate, I am not a doctor, nor a psychiatrist.

However, I have studied a lot! I have passed the courses I needed to give out advice but more importantly I HAVE been there!

Been a writer, I decided to use part of my writing skills to share my experience with my readers, mainly because I know what it’s like to experience bad mental health – anxiety, depression, lacking confidence… the list goes on! And its fucking awful!

If I can pick myself up from the girl crying in her bed every day, then so can you! Here’s another one of many daily techniques I used and still use now…

Exercise! You probably hear it or see it from sports personalities all the time and you probably think it’s all a big con to promote gyms and healthy foods but trust me it works!

Not only is it Kayleigh proven – it’s scientifically proven!

Research shows that exercise contributes to better mental health by…

Improving our sleep – You’re more likely to feel tired by the end of the day after a workout or physical activity helping you get a better night’s sleep which is so important for better mental health, sleep gives the body time to repair and relax plus reduces irritability and stress along with many more benefits.

Helps you to manage your stress, anxiety, and negativity – Physical activity releases cortisol in the body, a hormone that helps us manage stress.

Happier and a more positive you – Exercise releases feel good hormones helping you feel better and more energised.

Better self-esteem – Working out helps you gain confidence, better body image, happier moods and all-round positivity giving you a massive confidence boost.

Been physically activity also gives your brain something to focus on which can be a positive coping mechanism.  

These are just a few of many benefits confirmed by professionals, to read more head over to MIND charity at

For me personally the gym was always a scary place, up to the age of around 21 I’d never worked out! I didn’t even go to PE lessons in school, I’d always looked at exercise as effort, it was boring, I didn’t like playing any sports, I didn’t have any friends that did, plus I was skinny growing up, so I didn’t need to go to the gym – at least that’s what I always thought!

I was skinny but looking back I didn’t look good! Instead of living a healthy balanced lifestyle with a healthy diet and regular exercise, I decided to skip most meals to avoid putting any weight on because in my head, that’s what looked good!

It wasn’t until I was on a girl’s holiday many years ago that I had a wake up call…

A trashy girl’s weekend away in Magaluf, 4 days and nights and drinking and getting shitfaced! I had all my size 6 bikinis ready, my size 6 bikinis that were extremely padded because I had boobs like pancakes!

The DJs were lively over there, you couldn’t walk into a bar without the DJ making your presence clear to the rest of the bar, they’d shout and ask your names and where you were from. This certain day we walked into a bar, they were looking for volunteers to get up on stage and play a game, we were pretty tipsy so silly me put my hand up to join in and even though it was one of the most hurtful times in my life, it also ended up been a huge turning point for me…

“C’mon on up then skinny,” shouted the DJ.

I smiled, I was skinny and him calling me it made me feel confident until…

“So what should your prize be if you win? A meal? Maybe a kebab, you could do with a bit of meat on you” He laughed along with the drunken loud audience.

Suddenly I felt confused and embarrassed, why were they all laughing at me? I looked good, didn’t I?

I continued with the game on stage, running around drunk I tripped a little and if that wasn’t embarrassing enough the DJ said,

“Careful Love, you’ll probably break if you fall over.” The audience all laughed with him again.

Finally, the embarrassment ended when somebody finally won the stupid game.

“Better luck next time no arse” Laughed the DJ, “Shame you didn’t win, I was going to offer you a boob job!”

The whole was hysterically laughing at me at this point, people joining in and laughing, I could have cried, I did cry but I waited until I left with the girls.

“Oh girls, be sure to get some food down your friend tonight, she’s wasting away” The DJ added.

The girls, knowing I was upset headed back to the hotel with me where I burst into tears.

“Do I look awful?” I asked the girls.

Everyone paused,

“I mean if you DID loose anymore weight you would probably look ill.” One of them said.

“Yeah, you are tiny, you don’t look awful, but I never see you eating much these days?” Another added.

I knew they were just been nice, they didn’t want to hurt my feelings anymore!

This was my fitness wakeup call! Don’t get wrong, the DJ was clearly an absolute bastard, but I already suffered with anxiety a little at this point, I disguised my confidence issues with little tops and short skirts because I thought only been overweight was a problem! Deep down I knew I didn’t look well!  

I got myself a personal trainer, I wouldn’t be able to do this alone, I’d never worked out, I’d never even been a gym never mind used the equipment.

They got me a food plan, a workout plans using weights – weights I couldn’t even lift at first, but as the weeks passed and my food intake went up, not only did my image change but my mindset too! I felt good! I looked better! I went up a couple of sizes in clothes which would have usually freaked me out, but it didn’t because my clothes fitted my better, they didn’t hang off me anymore, I slowly stopped overthinking everything I was eating in case it would ‘make me fat’.

Eventually I got to a nice, healthy balanced life, I never got too obsessed with the gym, because that can also be unhealthy! Now I eat a balanced diet, I still pig out every weekend without fail! I go to the gym usually around 3 times a week, and if I’m having a bad day with my mental health I usually go for a long brisk walk or a light jog at the gym to boost my mood and my confidence.

The gym on a morning before work sets me up for the day! It’s become part of my routine 3 mornings a week, the time I’d usually spend laid in bed, been lazy and doing nothing, I go to the gym! I come home, shower, eat and head off to work feeling motivated, positive, and full of good energy!

Give it a go! Move your body! You don’t have to sign up to a gym, you can walk, swim, cycle, yoga, even pick a sport you like and a join a team!

Remember, physical activity won’t cure your mental health, but it has been proven to boost it!

I recently started a wellness group in the city I live, Leeds. Whilst I was there the other night, I met a girl who’s looking to get into personal training with a difference! Check out her Instagram profile… I found it very motivating and inspiring!  

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