The latest member of the IMAS Training team Ella Sky has recently had an article published in the Somerset Recovery College Magazine. Ella who proclaims on her Facebook page that she is “Autistic and Proud” brings a new skill set to the weekly IMAS online sessions and has agreed to be part of a forthcoming Mixed Ability presentation to entrepreneurs from across the country. Ella pictured, was part of the winning first women’s MARI’s (invitational) team at Pamplona Spain. She produces many of the promotional posters for both the men’s and women’s Mixed Ability rugby teams at Yeovil RFC.

The article below, extols the virtues of exercise and reflects Ella’s own experience of the benefits of Mixed Ability sport and being part of a team.

“Exercise has repeatedly demonstrated to have a positive impact on mental health. The benefits can include: Reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety: Exercise can create changes in the brain that help to reduce symptoms. In some cases regular exercise has been found to be as effective as medication in treating the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Boosting mood: Exercise stimulates and releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters that can improve your mood and reduce feelings of pain and stress. Reducing stress and improving self-esteem: by providing a sense of accomplishment, improving physical fitness, enhancing body image. Improving sleep: Regular exercise has been found to help improve the quality of sleep, which is important for your overall well-being. Increasing cognitive function and reducing the risk of cognitive decline: Exercise has been linked to improving cognitive function, including better memory and attention, and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Promoting social connection: Group exercise provides a social outlet and can promote connection and social support. Overall any form of exercise can have numerous benefits for your mental health, including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety, boosting mood, improving self-esteem, enhancing cognitive function, and promoting social connection. To help improve my own mental wellbeing I play mixed ability rugby (for Yeovil mixed ability rugby team). Mixed ability rugby is a form of rugby that is designed to be a fun sport that includes players of varying physical abilities including those with physical or intellectual disabilities, mental health issues, older players. This type of team sport helps to promote social inclusion by the nature of the inclusive and welcoming environment, improves confidence and self-esteem by working as part of a team and achieving success together can help players feel valued and capable, reduces social isolation and loneliness as mixed ability rugby facilitates the formation of social connections. Rugby is an intense physical activity that requires moments of explosive energy, along with other team sports a sense of comradery is built with team mates, and can be the perfect recipe for better mental health for participants of all abilities and fitness levels. In conclusion, exercise and sports can offer significant and unique benefits for people’s mental health. Specifically playing rugby and other team sports offer social and physical mental benefits. It promotes social inclusion, builds teamwork skills, and fosters a sense of community among participants. The physical exercise helps to produce the ‘feel good’ hormones and reduce stress. While the social component helps to build confidence and reduce social isolation and improving your overall mental health.”

By Ella




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