Fall 2022

Play-action prescription

In the newly opened Thielen Foundation Workout Room, kids start to learn the connection between physical activity and mental health


It’s a scientifically proven fact—exercise is a powerful tool for mental health. Increased blood flow to the brain can improve mood, motivation, memory, and how we respond to stress. And in effect, exercise has been shown to help reduce anxiety, depression, and negative mood while improving self-esteem and cognitive function.

Adam and Caitlin Thielen made the lead gift to the newly opened Thielen Foundation Workout Room at M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital.

Minnesota Vikings receiver Adam Thielen and his wife, Caitlin Thielen, know the value of a good workout firsthand.

“Both of us feel that when we are stressed or maybe we’re not in a great mental space, exercise is very important,” Adam Thielen says. 

That’s why, after touring the mental health unit at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital in 2019, the couple felt compelled to support the kids being treated there. They made the lead gift to the hospital’s newly opened Thielen Foundation Workout Room, giving kids in inpatient care an inspiring place to burn off steam. BSN Sports, Gray Duck, Midwest Landscapes, Pictura Graphics, Pulte Homes, Ryan Companies, Scheels, and Vivacity Tech provided additional support for the space.

The workout room features a stationary bicycle, treadmill, small soccer goal, water table, yoga area, gaming zone, and other engaging items like hula hoops, fidget toys, and puzzles. Filled with natural light and brightly colored murals, the space provides a safe place for kids to experience the positive benefits of exercise on their mental and physical health.

“We all know what a good workout can do for our mental health,” says Beth Heinz of M Health Fairview mental health and addiction services. “This space is so important for our kids, not only for them to get that benefit but to start making the connection early on about how important it is to be physically fit for your whole mental health.”

To learn how you or your company can support the Thielen Foundation Workout Room, contact Nick Engbloom of the University of Minnesota Foundation at engbloom@umn.edu or 763-443-1064.