SAMH believe in good mental health and well-being for all: Sport and physical activity plays such an important role in helping to achieve this.

This is why SAMH runs a National Programme dedicated to improving mental health through sport and physical activity. Launched by our ambassador Sir Chris Hoy, the programme was shortlisted for a prestgious Third Sector Excellence Award and has had fantastic feedback from its participants. Get Active aims to bring about improvements in mental health and wellbeing through building:

  • Self-esteem and emotional resilience
  • Community wide improvements in social inclusion and participation
  • Improved sporting and recreational facilities to include the support needs of people with mental health problems

SAMH is a big advocate of promoting the benefits of physical exercise, regardless of how difficult Scottish weather makes this! We have had great success with our horticultural services, such as the Redhall Walled Garden, Chrysalis and Evergreen, or prgrammes like Branching Out. Check out our series of blogs providing lots more information and advice on ways of building an appreciation for the outdoors.

Exercise and Mental Health

Evidence shows that participation in regular physical activity (including sport, exercise, walking and dance) will have a hugely positive impact on your life. It can promote good mental health, prevent ill health and improve your quality of life. Common benefits of regular exercise include:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced risk of depression
  • Protection against anxiety
  • Improved concentration and self-esteem

Being active doesn't mean you need to spend hours in the gym. More gentle activities such as walking, gardening and dancing are also great for your fitness. Finding activities you enjoy and can fit into your daily life is the key to achieving your fitness goals.

Some Fitness Ideas

You will find plenty of resources on the internet which can help you decide how to make exercise part of your life. Our helpful links below are sure to give you a few ideas:

Get Active with jogscotland

In 2013 we launched a partnership with Scottish Athletics. This included plans to train jogscotland leaders in mental health awareness and promote the positive effects regular exercise can have on our mental health.

As part of this partnership we want to encourage staff, service users and supporters of SAMH to join their local jogscotland group. Whether you are training for a running challenge or just looking to increase fitness, a jogscotland group will offer the best possible support to meet your needs. There are some huge benefits to being part of a team, which include helping one another to stay motivated and building relationships with our fellow teammates. 

jogscotland have encouraged more than 25,000 people to become runners in their own right, no matter what fitness level each individual began at. It is well known that exercise can improve our mental health but the physical benefits can include a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, strokes, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

jogscotland have around 500 groups - to find out which is closest to you visit their website: