Exercise and Your Mental Health10 Oct

Exercise and Your Mental Health

Today (October 10) is World Mental Health Day, so we’re looking at how a few lifestyle changes can help improve your mental wellbeing.

The aim of World Mental Health Day is to help raise awareness of what can be done to support those with mental health problems. 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children are likely to suffer from mental health illnesses and this can affect their ability to sustain relationships, go to work/school or even just get through the day. Unfortunately, there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health issues too, which can make it harder for people to ask for the support they need.

Exercise and nutrition can make a huge difference to your mental health and wellbeing, and while you should always speak to your doctor if you’re struggling with your mental wellbeing, they can still help make things easier for you. Read on to find out how…

Fitness

Exercise can help treat mild to moderate depression because it’s fantastic for releasing endorphins into your brain. These powerful chemicals energise you and make you feel good. There’s a reason people talk about a “post-workout high” – it’s a real thing and it goes a long way toward improving how you feel.

For those that suffer from high anxiety levels, exercise can also help. Anything that gets you moving and keeps you busy will help keep you from feeling too anxious. Your doctor may have already spoken to you about ‘mindfulness’ – this is the concept of being more aware of the present and your movements. When utilised with exercise to focus on the form of your movements or the sounds of your feet hitting the floor while running, it can be very effective at combating anxiety.

Wellbeing/Health

It’s worth trying to avoid cigarettes and alcohol if you suffer from a mental health condition. Alcohol is a depressant and can make things worse, and it’s always a good idea to stay away from addictive substances such as nicotine! If money worries are getting you down then the money you’ll save will have you smiling too.

More time outdoors will be a huge boost for your mood. Whether you’re out playing sports, hiking in the woods or even just sitting in the garden with a friend, that fresh air will work wonders! And be sure to pair it with plenty of sleep as that rest and recuperation will not only be great for your body, but for your mind too.

A few general tips!

• Surround yourself with good people; friends and family that you enjoy spending time with.
• Set realistic goals – achievable goals will give you a regular feeling of accomplishment when you reach them
• Value yourself! You’re an important person, so treat your mind and body

If you suffer from mental health problems, your GP can refer you to the Cheshire Change Hub for a FREE 12-week exercise programme. It’s a great way to start your journey to a ‘new you’, and is available to those living in Cheshire West. For more information on the help available, click here.

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