We took a look into the benefits physical activity can have on mental health, and this is what we found:

Being physically active means moving our bodies more and reducing the amount of time we spend sitting down. Many people find that physical activity helps to maintain positive mental health, either on its own, or alongside other treatments. 

Physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean running or playing a sport – just going for a walk, bike ride or even doing household chores such as hoovering, tidying or DIY.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to be physically active if you’re feeling unwell and you should only partake in physical activity if you are feeling physically well enough to do so. You must weigh up your physical and mental health before you start being more physically active.

MIND say that physical activity can have a positive effect on your mental health in the following ways:

  • Better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day.
  • Happier moods – physical activity releases feel-good hormones that make you feel better in yourself and give you more energy.
  • Managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts – doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy for difficult times.
  • Better self-esteem – being more active can make you feel better about yourself as you improve and meet your goals.
  • Reducing the risk of depression – studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression
  • Connecting with people – doing group or team activities can help you meet new and like-minded people and make new friends.

But physical activity isn’t always helpful for everyone’s mental health. You may find that it is helpful at sometimes and not others, or just that it doesn’t work for you. For some people, physical activity can start to have a negative impact on their mental health if they have other physical health related problems or have a tendency to over train when they do partake in physical activity.

Physical activity can undoubtedly have a positive impact on a person’s mental health, but it is important to consider all of your personal circumstances, mentally and physically, before increasing the amount of physical activity you take part in.

For more information or to find an activity which would suit you best, visit the MIND website HERE!