Exercise, Nutrition and Physiotherapy for Managing Mental Health Conditions

Mobile Exercise Physiology, Dietetics and Physiotherapy Services

Active Ability offers mobile allied health services for people with mental illness across Sydney, Wollongong and the Sunshine Coast.

Our experienced, caring team are dedicated to supporting people with mental illness enjoy better health and quality of life through optimum nutrition, exercise therapy and lifestyle strategies.

We have experience supporting people with

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Disordered eating
  • Psychotic illnesses
  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • PTSD

A large and growing body of evidence shows that mental health and physical health are critically linked. It therefore makes sense, and has been established by research, that physical health approaches can support improvement of mental health conditions.

Mental health disorders can directly impact your physical health. Mental illness can also profoundly disrupt day-to-day functioning. This can lead to lifestyle changes that result in an increased risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, respiratory illness, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Dietitians, exercise physiologists and physios are a fundamental part of a multidisciplinary team involved in the care of individuals with mental health conditions. Good nutrition, positive lifestyle changes and tailored exercises programs can improve physical and mental health outcomes, enhance quality of life, and reduce your risk of chronic disease.

Active Ability’s experienced, friendly allied health team provide caring, professional support for people with mental illness. We will listen to your history and goals, then tailor a personalised plan that considers your needs and circumstances. We’ll help you get started with reaping the mental benefits of exercise and optimum nutrition.

As mobile service providers, we can see you wherever you feel most comfortable, whether that’s at home, work or your preferred local setting. And with no wait list, you can start taking positive steps for your mental health right away.


Our Mental Health Support Services

Image of a male with the healthy version of a burger in his hand

Nutrition and Mental Health

Making good dietary choices is often difficult and poor dietary habits have been well documented in people living with a mental illness. Mental illness and its associated symptoms can significantly disrupt everyday activities such as grocery shopping, meal preparation and cooking, and therefore your diet.

Other nutritional consequences of mental health disorders can include appetite changes and therefore weight loss or gain. This can be compounded by the side effects of medications, which have been associated with metabolic disturbances and gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation.

Active Ability’s dietitians focus on positive, easy to implement psychiatric nutrition. We work closely with you and your support team to:

  • Improve nutritional status and metabolic health profiles (like blood sugar and cholesterol levels)
  • Manage weight gain associated with taking psychotropic medications
  • Identify and improve disordered eating patterns and eating behaviours
  • Provide education regarding any relevant medical nutritional concerns
  • Assist with strategies to improve food security
  • Increase skills of independent living and sense of control by being able to implement meaningful dietary changes
  • Improve capacity to participate in everyday activities through improved health and wellbeing
  • Use nutritional interventions to better manage symptoms of fatigue, depression and anxiety

Through individualised nutritional assessment, motivational interviewing and goal setting, we aim to not only improve health and wellbeing but also reduce the risk (or improve the management) of chronic lifestyle diseases.

Image of three people exercising with dumbbells

Exercise Physiology and Mental Health

Evidence suggests exercise is an effective treatment for people suffering from acute and chronic mental illness, with overwhelming evidence indicating that exercise is just as effective as drug treatments in alleviating depressive symptoms.

In addition to improved mood, the physical and mental health benefits of exercise include:

  • Reducing clinical and non-clinical symptoms of anxiety
  • Improved energy and motivation levels
  • Improvements in sleep quality and quantity
  • Helping to manage and maintain recovery after an acute bout of illness
  • Exercise can have some impact on the positive and negative symptoms associated with psychotic based disorders
  • Improved bone health, which can be impacted by mental health medications
  • Management of cardio-metabolic risk factors (eg blood pressure and cholesterol)
  • Reduced risk of chronic lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, plus management of these diseases after diagnosis
  • Assisting with weight management
  • Counteracting some medication side effects (eg changes to your cardio-metabolic risk profile and reducing risk of falling through strengthening muscles)

Most people struggle with completing physical activity at one time or another, but people living with mental illness may find it even more difficult than the rest of the population.

It’s important to remember that something is always better than nothing! Finding what works for you – such as the right time, place and type of exercise – is essential.

This will be different for everyone. Finding something you can do easily and enjoy is key. Walking the dog, swimming, riding a bike, bush walking, yoga and gardening are all great options.

Your chance of success is increased by finding good supports to keep you accountable or even exercise with you – whether that’s family, friends, or an exercise professional such as an exercise physiologist.

Seeing an Active Ability exercise physiologist is a great place to start because we understand the unique challenges faced by those living with a mental illness.

As a mobile business, Active Ability meet you where you’re at and help formulate a plan to embed a fun, sustainable and realistic exercise routine into your daily life. We are dedicated to supporting you achieve better physical and mental health and life quality.

Image of a older lady sitting next to a yoga ball ready to exercise

Physiotherapy and Mental Health

As primary healthcare professionals, physiotherapists can diagnose, assess and manage many of the physical conditions associated with mental health issues. These may include complications from a sedentary lifestyle, or from injuries and other illnesses.

Active Ability’s experienced physios have a special interest in working with people with mental illness. They can assist you towards improved health and function through motivational interviewing, reassurance and encouragement for reaching your goals.

As experts at managing chronic and preventable diseases, musculoskeletal conditions, and acute and chronic pain, our physios can help you with:

  • non-pharmaceutical interventions (such as manual therapy and dry needling) to assist with pain management
  • promoting self-management in the context of mental and physical health issues
  • functional training to improve mobility and balance and reduce falls risk
  • rehabilitation following an injury or other illness
  • therapies to address movement and body awareness
  • tailored lifestyle advice

Active Ability’s physios will explore your medical history, assess your function and tailor a treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. We’ll support and encourage you to take achievable, positive action towards improved health and wellbeing.


Get started with Active Ability’s Mental Health Support Services

To find out more about arranging a service agreement with Active Ability, contact us via the enquiry form or call us on (02) 8678 7874 (Monday to Friday). One of our helpful team members will happily answer any questions.

If you’d like to get started straight away, please fill out our NDIS referral form below.