There are so many reasons why taking part in physical activity is beneficial for your mental health.
A study was carried out which asked people to rate their mood straight after carrying out physical activity, such as going for a walk or doing some gardening or housework. They were then asked to rate their mood straight after periods of inactivity such as watching television or surfing the Internet. Researchers found that after being physically active, the participants felt calmer, more content and awake. However this was not the case after the periods of inactivity. The participants also reported finding that physical activity impacted their mood the most when it was low to start with.
We should think of physical activity as something we do because we value the positive benefits it has on our wellbeing. Here are some tips to get you started.
Being active doesn’t have to mean doing sport or going to the gym. There are lots of ways to be active; find the one that works for you and let’s all get physical!
Even a 10 minute brisk walk can make you feel in more of a positive mood.
Taking part in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety, and helps to prevent the development of mental health problems.
The effect of physical activity on our mood depends on the level of intensity. The most effective strategy at increasing positive mood was using low-intensity aerobic exercise for a period of 30–35 minutes. Doing this 3–5 days a week for 10 –12 people reported a noticeable difference.
Stress can cause a variety of symptoms including sleeping problems and loss of appetite, which will have a knock on effect to our mental and physical health.
Exercise plays an important role in our mental wellbeing and can also increase self-esteem and our ability to cope with the daily challenges we face in life.
People who are suffering from depression, can also benefit from regularly exercise. Sometimes a healthcare professional will recommend it as part of treatment either on its own or combined with medication or counseling. Physical activity has also been attributed to reducing anxiety levels in people.
The great news is that physical activity is available to us all in some shape or form. It does not have to be costly, and gives you the opportunity to manage all or part of the treatment yourself.
Think about whether you prefer to be indoors or out. Would you be more motivated if you were part of a group or team? You may be conscious of your body image, which can prevent you from participating in sports and team activities. There are female-only exercise classes or swimming sessions, which may help you to get started.
But don’t let these feelings stop you, there are other ways you can exercise to avoid feeling uncomfortable. Going for a walk, doing a bit of housework, and working on your garden are all forms of exercise.