#25: Exercise for Mental Health with Dr Brendon Stubbs

05 Aug 2019

This week I talk to Dr Brendon Stubbs, Head of Physiotherapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, Kings College London.

Brendon’s research focuses on physical activity, mental health and the mind-body interface.

Brendon and his team have published over 400 academic papers, and in 2016 he was identified in the journal ‘Nature’ (one of the biggest journals) - as one of the most productive scientists over all disciplines in the world.

In this episode, we talked about inflammation, we talked about diets, we talked about movement and how increasing physical activity rather than just focusing on specific exercise regimes, can all have benefits to our overall wellbeing and in particular our mood.

These are all topics that I talk about in my new book Eat to Beat Illness - in the section on ‘Mood’ where I talk about nutritional science but also lifestyle features, that can improve and preserve our brains, our cognition as well as our psychological wellbeing.

And you can find all of this information and more at www.thedoctorskitchen.com and don’t forget to subscribe to the newsletter for weekly science based recipes and listen to the end of the pod for a summary of our discussion.



People with mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, or major depression or bi-polar disorder are dying on up to average, 15-20 years earlier than people in the general population who dont have those conditions.

Dr Brendon Stubbs

What an incredible episode and guest we had on the show today.  Dr Brendon Stubbs is such a fountain of knowledge in this field and Im so excited that hes pioneering the research looking at exercise based interventions for mental health illness.
We talked about Brendons book Exercise Based Intervention for Mental Illness and I highly recommend that health practitioners in particular go and get this book.
One thing to re-iterate from our conversation with Brendon, and something that he agrees with.  It would be naive and reductionist to think that we can reverse all our symptoms of depression or other mental health issues with just one intervention alone, be that diet or movement or pharmaceutical.  And in many cases, patients require more than a collection of foods or an exercise regime to treat something as complicated as mental health issues.  So its not simply a case of a Neurochemical imbalance that needs boosting - and its really really important to keep sight of that fact.
Making sure that you get the right help and interventions from your doctor and other health professionals is key and Psychotherapy as well as exercise, as well as diet, as well as pharmaceutical interventions on occasion, can all have an important role to play.

GUEST: Dr Brendon Stubbs

Dr Brendon Stubbs is Head of Physiotherapy at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation trust and a clinical lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN), King’s College London. Brendon’s research focuses on physical activity and mental health and the mind-body interface.  Brendon has published over 400 academic papers and in 2016 was identified in the journal "Nature" as one of the most productive scientists across all disciplines in the world (top 0.001% of all published authors). Brendon’s research has been featured in the New York Times, TIME magazine, CNN, Men’s Health, BBC news, BBC Radio, ITV news and Sky News (among others). Brendon is lead author of the recently published European Psychiatric Association guidelines and position statement on the use of exercise for mental illness and senior author on a forthcoming Lancet commission to improve the physical health of people with mental disorders.   Brendon was recently (2018) awarded the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) senior investigator award for his research investigating physical activity and schizophrenia. Brendon has worked in mental health services for over 15 years and continues to greatly cherish and learn from patients in his weekly physiotherapy clinic in a secure forensic hospital. The book that Brendon has published - Exercise Based Interventions for Mental Illness focuses on physical activity as a treatment for mental health conditions and is a great resource. Finally, by clicking on this link you will be able to view all of Dr Brendons research papers for reference

with Dr Brendon Stubbs

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