A Couch Potatoes’ Guide to Exercise for Mental Health | Feat. Hunkemoller

Chloe Elizabeth wearing Sportswear

We all know that exercise improves your mental health – but what about those who hate exercise?

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of my blog, I’m a big advocate for looking after your mental health. It has been widely spoken about that exercise is really beneficial to mental health, with the Royal College of Psychiatrists claiming that physical activity can be just as beneficial as traditional therapies in treating mild Depression (source). I have to admit, I wasn’t too thrilled when I first found this out, as I’m a complete exercise-phobe (think of the girl who was always the last on the bench in Benchball!). But, it is something I’ve gradually managed to improve upon and I now have a gym that I attend, and have been known to go out for an occasional jog here and there. Nevertheless, I thought it would be exciting today to note down some of my favourite strategies and help a girl/guy out!


Attend Exercise Classes

My favourite way to go and get some exercise is to actually join an exercise class. This was a surprise for me too. Being around other people can be nerve wracking at first; especially as I felt so self-conscious, but I actually far prefer classes to using the gym machines. Classes are a great opportunity to get talking to people and have a whole load of fun. I always leave classes feeling far more exhausted than I do when I’ve spent an hour in the gym – which just goes to show how high intensity they are.


Join The Gym

I’d also really recommend joining a gym. I find it a lot easier to exercise at the gym because everybody is there for the same purpose. Some are expensive, though there are some much more affordable options nowadays (I use PureGym, as they have multiple branches local to me). Using PureGym as an example, there are also offers to join the gym at a reduced rate if you only attend in off-peak hours. This is a win-win situation from my perspective, as you’re paying less for the membership but the gym is also likely to be quieter. Theres’ then less to feel self-conscious about and you won’t have to wait as long to use your preferred machine. Make sure to book on an induction before starting to ensure that you know how to make the most of the machines and get the best workout.

I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that in Birmingham theres’ also a ‘Be Active’ scheme which means that you can enter council-led gyms and leisure centres for free within particular times. I couldn’t be more of an advocate for these; as you don’t need to pay anything for a gym membership and you can still get some workouts in. Have a look at the facilities available in your local area to find something that works for you!


Exercise From Home

There are a mass of YouTube videos out there that will get you exercising without even leaving your house! From HIIT, ’10 minute tutorials’ to Yoga and Pilates, there’s definitely something that will be beneficial, and for the majority of them you won’t even need weights or any equipment. If you wanted to do this, I’d recommend investing in some weights as they help to build muscle – but you could always fill water bottles and use those instead!


Wear Comfortable Clothes

Hunkemoller Mesh Top

When I first started working out, I spent a lot of money on sports bras’, leggings and other workout clothes because I thought I needed to. Oh, how wrong was I! In my opinion, the best thing to do is to choose clothes that you’re comfortable in and that make you feel confident. Hunkemoller Sportswear* offer a whole range of gorgeous sportswear clothes and I’ve been loving wearing their HKMX Blogger Xenia Mesh Sports Shirt on top of a gym vest. My leggings are from Forever 21 and my trainers were Nike ones that I found at an outlet a couple of years back. Now that I realise it’s possible to wear exercise clothes without feeling uncomfortable, I feel a lot happier going to the gym and working out.

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Chloe x*Hunkemöller kindly sent me this top to review for this post. All thoughts and comments remain my own!


  1. November 25, 2018 / 10:16 am

    This guide was literally made for me, I am such a couch potato! I do go running but that is it and I only do it when my mental health isn’t doing too great. I love your tip about buying workout clothes which you feel comfortable in. I feel like this would make such a difference to me and gives me a good excuse to go shopping!


    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 10:19 am

      I’m so glad you liked it!! Omg yes – I’ve been going to the gym more often recently and I can’t wait to treat myself to some more gym clothes! 😀

  2. November 25, 2018 / 10:20 am

    I am such a couch potato! But a few weeks ago I joined the gym and I find that it’s classes (and being competitive with my flat mates, we have a chart to see who goes the most) that actually makes me exercise! I’d definitely recommend a quick 10 minute YouTube video as well they’re so handy and convenient! Fab post lovely x

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 10:28 am

      Thanks so much Chloe! x

  3. November 25, 2018 / 10:21 am

    You are so right about the difference having nice workout clothes can make. I hate exercising, but I went out and actually got some decent stuff it made it much easier to want to work out.

    I’ve been using the Couch to 5k app which has been good for structuring running, although I’ve been re-doing a lot of runs to get my fitness up so it’s taken a lot longer than it should!!

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 11:16 am

      Couch to 5k is such a fab suggestion – I don’t know why I didn’t think of that! Any run is a good run, I’m glad you’re taking it at your own pace! xx

  4. November 25, 2018 / 10:38 am

    I love exercising but I’m getting so lazy recently and finding excuses about why I can’t do it! I really need to get back into it as running used to be one of my favourite things to do to clear my head! I’ve attended a few classes in the past and loved them, spin and bodypump were my favourites!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 11:15 am

      I love bodypump too, I find spin classes really difficult though! It can be so difficult to get back into it when you stop xx

  5. November 25, 2018 / 10:40 am

    I’ve had my gym membership for just over a year now and I love the different classes they offer. You’re completely right! I tend to work up a sweat when I’m doing a class with an instructor rather than doing my own workout on machines.

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 11:15 am

      Glad you agree, Annie! <3 xx

  6. November 25, 2018 / 11:04 am

    Loved this post, definitely needed this – I spend too much time sitting down haha!

    There have been so many times I’ve wanted to join a gym, but prices around here are crazy and I get so anxious. I may start to consider it though – I’m definitely going to start small and exercise from home first!

    Love the comfortable clothes tip, I’m starting to buy more workout clothing as a bit of a motivator – that shirt is really nice!

    Thank you for this 🧡

    Chelsea | https://twoofamind.com

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 11:16 am

      Ahh bless you Chelsea, haha! Definitely start small, I find it’s really useful to have a friend who goes too 🙂 I’m glad this post was useful! xx

  7. November 25, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    Loved this post, I used to exercise quite a bit but stopped and have just found it so much harder to get back into it! Ives started doing more exercise classes which I actually prefer doing that exercising on my own at the gym! X

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 1:31 pm

      It’s so hard to keep up the motivation I can completely understand that! And yes! Classes are so much more fun! xx

  8. November 25, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    I’m such a couch potato it’s terrible! Unfortunately joining the gym hasn’t worked for me- I barely make the most of my membership

    Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 25, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Ahh Soph that’s such a shame! (Haha me too though) xx

  9. November 25, 2018 / 2:29 pm

    I am definitely a couch potato – I hate exercise! I think it’s more my anxiety than anything because it leaves me not wanting to leave the house so going to the gym seems impossible, but maybe it’s not as impossible as I thought. I never knew about reduced prices for not going at peak times, that’s definitely something I’m going to have to look into at my local gyms. If there are less people then it’ll make my social anxiety much easier to deal with. I might start small and start at home. For some reason, I’ve never really thought about looking up exercise videos on YouTube but I think I’m about to start! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 5:15 pm

      It’s absolutely not impossible, it’s worth giving it a try when you feel ready, Kelly! (no pressure though). Glad the post was useful! xx

  10. November 25, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    I will forever be an exercise at home type of person I think, gyms just make me self conscious and nervous. It’s fine though since my preference when it comes to exercise is running which i can do from home anyways! Your tip to sign up for an induction class when joining a gym is great! I think half of my anxiety when it comes to gyms is looking like a crazy person using the machines wrong haha I dont know why I never looked into a class which teaches you such things before!

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      I’m so glad/jealous that you enjoy running! 😉 I’ve tried it a few times but it makes me so self conscious, I just can’t seem to get a hang of it. It sounds like you feel about the gym, the same as I feel about running xx

  11. November 25, 2018 / 4:31 pm

    I’d say try different things until you fund something you like, I hate going running but turns out I love swimming and yoga

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      That’s so true! I haven’t been swimming in years, but love yoga! xx

  12. November 25, 2018 / 5:30 pm

    I did a post on my blog a while ago about how much I hate exercise, it’s like we’re kindred spirits 😂😂
    Totally agree though, it’s beneficial to just get out there and do SOMETHING. Even finding a nice park and walking around it for 30 mins to an hour is good, it clears your head for sure. That top is cute by the way!


    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 5:14 pm

      OMG YES haha I love it! Exactly, doing something is always better than nothing. Thank you! xx

  13. November 25, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    It’s great that you’ve found ways to make yourself feel more comfortable going. I’ve always hated classes as they make me feel quite self conscious but I love gyms. I feel like everyone is in their own little bubble getting on with life at the gym. I gave up my membership because I only ever ran and used the cross trainer, I didn’t really feel like I was getting my money’s worth. Home workouts are great too though! x


    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      Thanks Sophie! I love the gym too, but home workouts are great as well! xx

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:02 pm

      That’s such a great way to do it! x

  14. November 26, 2018 / 9:25 am

    This is such an inspiring post- it makes me want to get back into exercising more again. I have an exercise bike at home that I used to love to use, but got out of habit using it. It is easier once you are in routine but getting there and starting is the struggle 😂 I’ve been wanting to start the past few weeks, but I am really going to try after work today as you have inspired me to, so thank you 😁


    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:03 pm

      Haha I’m glad it was motivating, Amy! 😉 I definitely agree, it’s such a struggle to get into it. Let me know how it goes! x

  15. November 26, 2018 / 5:25 pm

    These are some great tips, I’m terrible at exercising. Nice workout clothes defo make all the difference, they are the best motivator ever! I’ve recently been trying blogalaties on Youtube! It’s good fun but I would much prefer the gym too aha xx

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:04 pm

      Thanks Lexie, glad you liked the post! 😀 Blogilates is so cool and a really good workout! xx

  16. November 26, 2018 / 6:14 pm

    Great post Chloe! I have recently joined the gym again as I haven’t been feeling great and it is such a good thing for mental health. I went today, and despite feeling exhausted, I actually felt better. I’m looking forward to go again and maybe try a class next time. I agree, comfy clothes are 100% a must! You look great in your outfit! Thanks for sharing your suggestions <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:05 pm

      Thanks Bexa! Sorry to hear you’ve not been feeling great <3 xx

  17. Emma
    November 27, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    What a fab little guide Chloe! I am sure we can all benefit from it at different stages of our lives. Fitness is a big to do for 2019 for me.

    Emma – http://www.lifeofemmax.co.uk

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:06 pm

      Thanks Emma! I’m glad it was useful x

  18. November 28, 2018 / 4:09 pm

    These are some great tips! I feel like excercising at home doesn’t work for me because I find it hard to motivate myself but joining a gym is a great way to actually make sure you are getting that work out in! x

    • Chloe Elizabeth
      November 30, 2018 / 6:07 pm

      Thanks Huda, I’m glad you liked it! x

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