Exercise benefits people with mental health disabilities

Posted on Tuesday, 15 April 2014

For the general population, exercise is part of a daily routine but for people with mental health disabilities, it may seem like a difficult challenge which invariably leads to a lot of health problems later in life.

People with mental health disabilities are more likely to suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases and obesity, and have a 15-20 percent shorter life expectancy that the average Australian. For example, a report from the University of Western Australia has shown that people with schizophrenia are on average four times more prone to type II diabetes than the general population.

The Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW is hoping to change those figures with their Thriving, Not Surviving – Mental Health Fitness program run in conjunction with C-Life Health Club at Canterbury League Club. The aim of the program is to provide participants with access to the gym and gym equipment three times a week, personal trainers and Pilates, yoga and meditation classes.

Goal outcomes for participants in the program include weight loss, better health through management of existing health issues, a proper diet plan, increased confidence, creating a sense of belonging to the community and extended life expectancy.

“Canterbury and C-Life have been wonderful partners and through this partnership we are saving lives and assisting people to re-engage with their communities.  In quite a few cases, we have helped the individual join or re-join the workforce and become a contributing citizen,” said Robert Ramjan AM, CEO of Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW.

The $10,000 donation from the Club was used to pay for training sessions with personal trainers and specialised low-impact equipment which is more suitable for people recovering from mental health disabilities to use.

“This program is a great example of organisations working together to support people with mental disorders to turn their lives around. A structured exercise program will assist them increase their health and confidence and hopefully provide them with a better outlook on life,” said Dr George Peponis OAM, Chairman of the Canterbury League Club.

For more information on the Thriving, Not Surviving – Mental Health Fitness program, please contact Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW on (02) 9879 2600.

*Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW will be celebrating Schizophrenia Awareness Week from 18 to 24 May 2014. The week provides an opportunity to increase community awareness of schizophrenia and mental illness in general. For more Information click here