Activity and exercise for better mental health

This week is Mental Health Awareness week and this year's focus is on physical activity and exercise to improve your mental health and wellbeing.

One person in four will be affected by mental illness or neurological disorder in their lives.  There's still an element of misunderstanding, stigma and ignorance around mental health.  Two-thirds go untreated.

Mental health can vary from occasional periods of feeling down, anxiety, not able to cope and low self-esteem to more serious bouts of severe depression and more serious mental health issues.

Exercise is important, not only to keep us physically fit and healthy but it's also important for our mental health and wellbeing too.

Chemicals released during physical activity make us feel good.  We all know the buzz we get when we've done any form of physical activity.

Spending too much time in office buildings surrounded by artificial light and away from fresh air disconnects you from your surroundings and can impact your mental wellbeing.

Get into the habit of moving more and increasing the amount of activity that you do on a daily basis.

- walk more - to the bus, up stairs, to the shops.
- exercise regularly - a brisk twenty minute walk in your lunch break, before or after work.
- take up a team sport, join a group
- join a yoga or meditation class to relax and unwind after a busy day.

Physical exercise - even for a short period of time, increases mental alertness, energy levels and boosts mood.  Find time for two to three 30 minute sessions of activity each week.  You'll also sleep better which also has a positive affect on mental health.

While you can't expect to feel happy all of the time, being mentally healthy enables you to cope with times when you're feeling under pressure or experiencing grief, loss or failure.

Look after yourself.

Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] /
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