On Saturday 5th October, attendees gathered at King’s College Hospital in South London for the first ever Movement & The Mind conference. Leaders in the field of physical activity for mental health and brain development received a warm welcome from a cohort of clinicians, therapists, scientists and students as they explored and discussed their research.
Dr Helen Garr (@thewellbeinggp) kicked off the event by getting the audience up on their feet and dancing to music. Like many other speakers, she emphasised that movement does not need to be partnered with the gym. Exercise can be fun, free and social when the right activity is selected. “Give your patients permission to exercise” was a key message that Dr Garr shared with the room, as many patients feel that their age or health condition bars them from being active.
“Give your patients permission to exercise”Dr Helen Garr
Dr Brendon Stubbs (@BrendonStubbs) is a leading researcher on the effect of exercise on mental illness. He dove into the growing pool of academic literature supporting physical activity as an effective therapy for mental illness. He highlighted the need for increased support to increase the trust in and utilisation of exercise in healthcare, alongside large scale implementation studies to demonstrate how we can employ this practically.
The clinical and scientific discussion was well balanced with a variety of movement workshops hosted later in the day. The event attendees were treated to yoga, tai chi, the Primal Play MethodTM, outdoor running and a session exploring movement in a sedentary job.
A preview of award winning short film ‘Tonic of the Sea’ shared the powerful potential of cold water swimming for managing mental illness. Alongside this were other exciting directions for the future such as the role of yoga in healthcare. The day closed with a mindfulness workshop from Gelong Thubten. As one of the UK’s foremost meditation and mindfulness teachers, Thubten shared his experience on how to bring these practises to those who may be hesitant.
Until Next Year
The conference demonstrated the accelerating and widening interest in the Lifestyle Medicine movement. A huge thank you to Dr Lucy Loveday (@drlucyloveday) for organising and hosting the event. Thank you to all of the speakers, delegates and attendees that helped make the day a success. You can find the full programme below to read more about the days speakers and sessions.
Additional Key Messages from the Event
- Sitting for long periods of time is an independent risk factor of ill health.
- The concept of “exercise snacking” is something we should all think about.
- Mentally active sedentary behaviour is mentally protective (i.e. it decreases the risk major depression). Whereas passive sedentary increases the risk of major depression in the future. It is context specific.
- We need more people to champion the credibility of exercise for mental health.
- Mindfulness can be used as a tool to promote physical activity and enhance sport performance.
- It enhances the ability to observe one’s thoughts and emotions and view them as passing mental events, rather than identifying with them.
- Language will transform how responsive people are to what you’re trying to offer them.
By Rebekah Jade, BSc
Also published in the British Society of Lifestyle Medicine newsletter