World Mental Health Day

Oct 09, 2020 | Blog

Mental health and exercise

Regular physical activity has been proven to be beneficial for both your body and your mind, and with the added challenges of 2020, it has never been more important to stay active when you can.

How can exercise benefit my mental health?

  • Positive impact on your mood
  • Reduces stress
  • Reduces levels of anxiety
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Reduces the likelihood of dementia
  • Used as an alternative or combination treatment for depression
  • Improves physical health, which can support your mental health

Nervous about starting exercise?

Covid may have impacted your health or changed your usual routine, but there are still plenty of ways to get back into exercise and positive reasons to do so.

Starting something new or engaging in a new activity can cause stress and anxiety in itself, however there are a few ways you can begin on your fitness journey and start to feel the benefits.

  • Start slowly – whether it is going out for a walk or taking the stairs at work, you don’t need to throw yourself into a full exercise regime straight away

  • Find a time that will mean you do it regularly – do you have an hour at lunchtime or can you set your alarm half an hour earlier in the morning? Think about when you could exercise, and what you could do in this time

  • Think about your barriers – if it’s cost, find a free alternative; if it’s body-image, perhaps a ladies-only session; if it’s stepping foot in a gym, perhaps try an online class or virtual challenge to get you started

  • Find something you will enjoy – whether it is an exercise class or a new sport, think of something you enjoy. You are also more motivated to keep going if you enjoy it!

  • Think about your goals – this will help you find something to meet your goals, such as if it is for social reasons, then perhaps an exercise class, if it is to run a 5k, then start by fast walks, or follow a couch-to-5k App

  • Make it a habit - make small changes to your daily routine, such as walking to work, taking the stairs, or taking the kids to the park

  • Find a friend – even if you can’t be with friends right now, you are more likely to keep going and also reduces the anxiety of trying something new if you’re doing it with someone else, even virtually. There are many online communities that can make you feel welcome and help you on your way, as well as virtual challenges to keep you motivated

Release those endorphins

Exercise won’t always stop you from feeling sad or emotional, but the feel-good hormones released when exercising have been proven to support your mental wellbeing, and in the long run, any type of exercise will always be beneficial to you – both physically and mentally.

If you’d like to take that first step to keeping active, speak to a member of our team today to find out how we can help you, or check out one of the links below to get started in your own home.

15-minute Beginners Workout – no equipment needed

Couch to 5k

Yoga for Anxiety & Stress

The World Health Organisation guide to Managing Stress