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How physical activity helps mental health

man using wheelchair takes physical activity in the park Taking regular exercise can have a huge positive impact on our mental health and wellbeing. We’ve highlighted some of the ways how physical activity helps mental health.

Recommended physical activity

The recommended amount of moderate physical activity we should be doing is two and half hours per week. This regular physical activity helps with many health benefits, hopefully leading us to live longer, healthier lives, which includes an improved mental health.

Don’t let the thought of exercise cause you additional worry and stress; it doesn’t mean you have to join a gym or complete a marathon! Exercise can be anything that gets us moving; from doing our weekly shop or cleaning the house, to dancing or going for a walk.

If you are living with a disability or you are not comfortable leaving the house, there are lots of suitable options available online. Disability charity, Scope, has information about exercising at home, or you can search for at-home workouts on YouTube.

Mood Boost

Studies show that physical activity has a positive effect on our mood. Any form of physical activity can help us to feel calmer and content. The benefits are more noticeable when our mood is lower than usual, so if you are living with depression, anxiety or stress, you are likely to feel an improvement in your mood if you take some form of exercise.

Reduce Stress

Stress affects us all at some point. Research shows that physical activity can be effective at relieving stress, and those who are more active tend to be less stressed than those who are less active.

Boost Self-Esteem

Taking regular exercise can help to make us feel good about ourselves. Once you’ve completed some form of physical activity, you will feel a sense of achievement, which makes us feel good. It can also help our physical health and appearance by keeping fit.

Increase Energy Levels

Regular exercise can increase our energy levels throughout the day and even enhance our ability to learn and memorise new things.

If you need additional support…

The Community Living Well Peer Support service arranges group walks in local parks, which is a great opportunity for you to take some exercise, get some fresh air and meet with people who may have similar experiences. You can refer yourself to the Peer Support service by completing this online form.

One You Kensington & Chelsea and One You Westminster also provide useful information, advice and opportunities to introduce physical activity into your daily routine.


Author: Stewart Gillespie
Posted on: 5th February 2024

SMART St Mary Abbots Rehabilitation and Training
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