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Movement: Moving More for our Mental Health

 

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body; it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy

 

We’re supporting the Mental Health Foundation this Mental Health Awareness Week, this year’s theme is movement: moving more for our mental health – a theme that we’re always proud to champion. At Tees Active our mission is to invest every penny into building active and healthy communities, we know that the benefits of an active lifestyle far extend just the physical rewards and the feel-good hormones that are released when we partake in physical activity are proven to contribute to overall better mental health!

Whether it’s a walk in nature, fast-paced fitness class or solo gym session – just do whatever works for you! Of course, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution when it comes to mental health related issues and it’s not always easy to move your body when your mind is struggling. That’s why we’ve complied this list of tips to help improve your mood and movement this Mental Health Awareness Week.

What is Mental Health Awareness Week?

The Mental Health Foundation states that, “Mental Health Awareness Week happens every year, and it’s the biggest opportunity for the whole of the UK to come together to focus on getting good mental health. The week aims to tackle stigma and help people understand and prioritise their and others’ mental health. After years of being ignored, hidden away, and not being spoken about, Mental Health Awareness Week makes sure that mental health remains at the centre of the public conversation. It has contributed to government policy changes and provides a significant red-letter day when mental health charities throughout the UK can fundraise to support their work.

Above all, it keeps up the pressure for change so that we collectively prioritise the UK’s mental health, prevent mental health problems and take action to make sure we live in a society that values and promotes good mental health for all.”

The focus on movement this year comes as the World Health Organisation (WHO) have published statistics stating that levels of inactivity in adults are on the rise. New ways of working, deliver-to-your-doorstep services and fluctuating weather can all play a role when determining how much activity a person gets. Although an intense workout or run around your local park is a great form of exercise, physical activity can be defined as ‘any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure’. That includes day-to-day activities such as household chores, recreation and play, dancing or even just a brisk walk… Mental Health First Aid England explain that even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking can boost our mood and increase our mental alertness and energy!   

Ideas for you to keep moving

Join a class

Fitness classes are fantastic as they combine the endorphin hit you get from a good workout with all the benefits of socialising with other class goers. Make friends, get fit and have fun.. what’s not to love? Take a look at our full fitness class timetable online at: activ8fitnessclubs.co.uk/fitness-classes/

Dive into swimming

Many swimmers report that just a 10-15 minutes in the pool can work as an effective stress reliver, as swimming increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain reducing anxiety and increasing happiness. In addition to this, a study by Better UK found that 89% of Brits feel positive benefits of swimming and from being near water, such as improved mental health, lifting their mood, and calming their anxiety. So whether it’s your local pool or if you’d like to try wild swimming, dive in and get swimming!

Make your chores more fun

We know that sometimes, incorporating a workout into your busy schedule can feel impossible! For example, Sport England UK found that 61% of mums would feel guilty about taking time to exercise and The UK Fitness Report states that 41% of people say they are simply too tired after work. Despite this, it’s still possible to get more movement into your daily routine without interrupting your schedule or breaking a sweat – waiting for the kettle to boil? You could do a couple of squats or get your star jumps in. About to jump in the shower? Why not do a some stretches then? There are loads of ways to move just a little bit more and each little move will add up at the end of the week!

Simple Swaps

One of the best ways to up your step counts and increase your daily movement is just swapping out some of your usual habits for ones that get your heart rate pumping a bit more. For example, take the stairs where you would usually get the lift, ditch the short drive for a leisurely stroll or choose the longer route when you’re walking to the shops. It might not seem like much but it really can have an effect on your step count and as a result, your overall mood!

Find your route

Walking can be an amazing remedy to low mood and mental illness, just a short stroll can blow away the cobwebs and boost your mood. Across the Tees Valley and around our venues we’re lucky to have some incredibly scenic, family friendly walking routes. Check out our full list, including maps, here: www.teesactive.co.uk/walking-routes/

 

Mental health matters, please contact your GP for medical help. If you have been affected by any of the issues mentioned in this article, you can call Samaritans at any time on 116 123 or contact any of the following mental health organisations for help and support:

mind.org.uk

nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth

 

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