A Belfast man has taken the generous decision to open up his gym for free on Sunday’s in an effort to help those struggling with mental health conditions. Tommy McVeigh runs Excel 121 Training just outside the city. He hopes that opening up the facility for free will encourage those who are struggling to come and clear their minds through exercise.
“There have been too many people who have taken their own lives in the past few months. It is tragic and sad to see,” Tommy told Belfast Live. “I just thought this would be a good idea to welcome people who are maybe struggling with their mental health to come into the gym and use our facilities.”
Tommy urged those suffering from poor mental health to come and work out at his gym, citing the staggering benefits physical exercise can have on emotional health.
“People think exercise and training only improves your physical appearance, but it has so many benefits when it comes to your mind and mental health,” he said. “So we would welcome anyone interested to come in, use our gym and clear their mind. You can come in with a friend, have a chat at the coffee bar and speak to the staff who are only too willing to help.”
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, exercise can have a profound effect on “certain chemicals in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin,” thus improving your mood.
“Exercise can stimulate other chemicals in the brain called “brain-derived neurotrophic factors,” notes RCPsych. These help new brain cells to grow and develop. Moderate exercise seems to work better than vigorous exercise. Exercise seems to reduce harmful changes in the brain caused by stress.”
“If this can help just one person, then it will be a success,” Tommy concluded. “We are proud to be part of our local community, so we want to help in any way we can.”