Healthy Mind: Tips from an Olympian

Olympian and Emerging Leaders Club Ambassador Kate Haywood shares her regular excises techniques which can support a healthy mind. We all lead busy lives and the importance of our physical and mental wellbeing shouldn’t be overlooked.

Kate shares her tips from 15 years as a top performing athlete and qualified personal trainer. Combined with a good diet this should make a difference to one’s mind and body

Regular exercise is the most effective way to improve your mental health. People should view physical activity not as something we should do or have to do for our health, but as something that we do because we value the positive effects it has on our wellbeing.

Being active doesn’t mean that you have to attend a gym! There are many ways in which we can do this:

  • Walking – Take time to walk to work, on your lunch break or on the weekend
  • Cycling – Get outside and get some fresh air
  • Swimming – great and not to high impact
  • Tennis/Badminton/Squash – get a friend and get active together
  • Zumba or dance classes similar – Get your groove on
  • Local parks offer plenty of space for you to do a body weight workout

These are some great examples, but the list does goes on.

I didn’t want to spend hours in a gym so everything I did with my clients took place outdoors, whether the sun was shining, or the heavens opened with rain, it’s good to get outdoors and get some fresh air.

Before you start don’t forget:

  • Always make sure you warm up, injury’s will occur if you don’t
  • Do it at a level your feel comfortable at
  • However, don’t make it to easy. No Pain No Gain!

Here are some simple exercises that you can do in your home, in the garden or at a local park –

Simple Warm-Up

Go for a short jog or this can be done on the spot. When you feel warm and the heart rate is slightly raised, your ready to go! Four exercises – Do these with short rest in between each. Take a long break after the core exercise and then repeat 3-4 times. These exercises will give you a full body work out and are simple to do!


Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles. Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down. Do these for 45 seconds – 1 minute. Do it until you get a burn!

Push Ups

The push up may just be the perfect exercise that builds both upper body and core strength. Done properly, it is a compound exercise that uses muscles in the chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs, and even the legs. This can also be done on knees. Do these for 45 seconds – 1 minute. Do it until you get a burn.

Jumping Jacks

Also known as star jumps - jumping to a position with the legs spread wide and the hands touching overhead, sometimes in a clap, and then returning to a position with the feet together and the arms at the side. Do this for 45 seconds – 1 minute. You should feel your heart beat get faster and you should feel slightly out of breath!

Core – Sit ups

Lie flat on your back, lift the torso to a sitting position, and then lie flat again without changing the position of the legs: formerly done with knees bent. Do this for 1minute until you get the burn

Always make sure you stretch out your muscles AFTER your workout. Hold stretches for at least 30 seconds.

You may feel sore the next day or even a few days afterwards, but guaranteed you will feel better and much happier.