AN EVENT that aims to break down barriers to exercise focusing on mental health will take place in Bournemouth.

Sophie White is one of 300 qualified Mental Health and Exercise Coaches nationwide and she will host MHEC-Fest on April 20.

These coaches aim to prioritise clients’ mental health on a level playing field with their physical health.

The free event aims to address many people’s concerns when it comes to exercise, including fears of looking foolish when exercising and cost, while also showing how exercise can benefit.

“The idea is that I use my skills as a mental health and exercise coach to teach people the value and the links between exercise and positive mental health and how [attendees] can use that to improve all areas of their life, like I do with my clients on like a daily basis,” Sophie said.

Bournemouth Echo: Sophie White (top left) is one of 300 MHEC certified coaches in the UK.

The event will begin with a talk from Sophie on her journey with mental health and how exercise has helped her.

She will also explore the scientific links between mental health and exercise and the benefits of it, for building confidence, resilience and body appreciation.

Then, Sophie will lead a short, optional workout that is aimed at being as inclusive as possible.

“I feel so passionately about building like a safe space for people to exercise,” she said.

“It's going to be a body weight only workout with plenty of progressions and regressions.

“The workout is designed because it's meant to mentally stimulate and engage whoever is doing it. So, it will get progressively a little bit more challenging, but people can still take it completely at their pace.

“The aim of that is, again, to help people build those links between how movement within the body can really affect you positively mentally as well.”

Bournemouth Echo: MHEC-Fest will be held on April 20.

Sophie encouraged anyone who doesn’t have a positive relationship with exercise, such as those who may have had a bad experience at a gym or in a class, to come along to the event.

The event will run between 12pm and 2pm on April 20 at the Stourvale Centre in Bournemouth. It is free but attendees must sign up beforehand.

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