There are many reasons why physical activity is good for your body – having a healthy heart and improving your joints and bones are just two, but did you know that physical activity is also beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing?
What is physical activity?
At a very basic level, physical activity means any movement of your body that uses your muscles and expends energy. One of the great things about physical activity is that there are endless possibilities and there will be an activity to suit almost everyone!
It is recommended that the average adult should do between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise a week. This can be either moderate intensity exercise, such as walking, hiking or riding a bike, or it can be more vigorous activities, such as running, weight lifting, or skipping with a rope. Any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster, and makes you feel warmer counts towards your exercise!
What is wellbeing?
- The sense of feeling good about ourselves and being able to function well individually or in relationship.
- The ability to deal with the ups and downs of life, such as coping with challenges and making the most of opportunities.
- The feeling of connection to our community and surroundings. Having control and freedom over our lives Having a sense of purpose and feeling valued
Of course, mental wellbeing does not mean being happy all the time, and it does not mean that you won’t experience negative or painful emotions, such as grief, loss, or failure, which are a part of normal life. However, whatever your age, being physically active can help you to lead a mentally healthier life and can improve your wellbeing.
The many reasons
Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.
Participation in regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety. It also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems.
Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on our mood.
Physical exercise can be very effective in relieving stress. Research on employed adults has found that highly active individuals tend to have lower stress rates compared to individuals who are less active.
Physical activity has been shown to have a positive influence on our self-esteem and self-worth. This relationship has been found in children, adolescents, young adults, adults and older people, and across both males and females.
Physical activity has been identified as a protective factor in studies that examined risk factors for dementia. For people who have already developed the disease, physical activity can help to delay further decline in functioning. • Physical activity can be an alternative treatment for depression.
Physical activity can reduce levels of anxiety in people with mild symptoms and may also be helpful for treating clinical anxiety.
Once you have decided that you want to be more physically active, there are a few points worth thinking about. Apart from improving your physical and mental wellbeing, what else do you want to get out of being active? Ask yourself whether you’d prefer being indoors or out, doing a group or individual activity, or trying a new sport. Also, would you rather go it alone or do an activity with a friend? Social support is a great motivator, and sharing your experiences, goals and achievements will help you to keep focus and enthusiasm.
At South Downs Leisure we are lucky to have such a wide variety of options on your doorstep. Whether it’s a class, a workout in the gym, a swim in the pool or sport at one of our centres, our members access to exerciser has bever been better.
It can be a bit scary making changes to your life, and most people get anxious about trying something new.
Some common barriers, such as cost, injury or illness, lack of energy, fear of failure, or even the weather can hinder people from getting started; however, practical and emotional support from friends, family and experts really does help.
If physical activity is new to you, it’s best to build up your ability gradually.
It’s really important to set goals to measure progress, which might motivate you.
Adopting a more active lifestyle can be as simple as doing daily tasks more energetically or making small changes to your routine, such as walking up a flight of stairs.
What time do you have available for exercise? You may need to rejig commitments to make room for extra activities, or choose something that fits into your busy schedule, like personal training.
Physical exercise is paramount for keeping our mind and body in great condition. The two really do compliment each other. You may not feel like exercising some days or maybe your fitness journey is still waiting to happen; but believe us…..by doing even a small amount of exercise whether it be going for walk, running to the post box it actually lifts your mood and your body releases happy hormones.
Additionally, by participating in physical exercise, you will gain a huge amount of self-satisfaction and achievement. Physical exercise is proven to improve your self esteem, confidence and can reduce stress. Exercise if very effective at reducing fatigue, can help improve alertness and concentration.
Ask yourself what are your realistic goals?
If you are worried about joining the gym……Turn the negative in to a positive
“I want to try something new, it will be worthwhile.
Visualise yourself having reached your goal….How does it make you feel?