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Mental Health Awareness Week: 4 Ways Movement Benefits Our Mental and Physical Health

by Camilla P.

May 17, 2024


1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem every year (Mind, 2024)

To raise awareness about mental health issues, 23 years ago the Mental Health Foundation started Mental Health Awareness Week 🧠 This week emphasises the importance of prioritising mental wellness, reducing the stigma and breaking the silence surrounding it.

Each year, a different theme is focussed on, with this year's being Movement. The aim is to find what moves our mind and our body. As many of us already know, movement offers many benefits to our mental and physical health. Movement and exercise have been proven to:

  • 1. Improve our mood, thanks to the release of serotonin and dopamine which are associated with happiness
  • 2. Improve our sleep quality by reducing insomnia
  • 3. Improve anxiety by alleviating symptoms
  • 4. Prevent heart disease, diabetes and stroke by promoting overall health and reducing risk factors

Despite this, more than one third of adults in the UK do not meet the standards set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Many of us struggle to find movement in our day. There are a variety of reasons that stop people from exercising, from energy levels to costs. According to the Mental Health Foundation:

  • 28% of people claim to be too tired
  • 14% of people are held back because of high costs
  • 17% say stress is the main reason they don't exercise

However, physical activity is not just about going to the gym or running kilometres! There are many ways that we can incorporate movement into our lives without spending too much money on gym memberships or feeling under pressure.

Why not try some of these?

  • 🚶 Walk to your destination instead of taking public transport
  • 🌳 Go for a walk in the park by yourself or with a friend
  • 🏢 Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • 🚴‍♀️ Go for a cycle in your local park or neighbourhood

Remember to take care of your body and mind. It's important that we support and share experiences with loved ones about mental health and help empower each other!

If you have any other tips on finding movement leave them in the comments 👇

Who knows, they might inspire and help someone else!

For further resources and information, please head to Mind, Mental Health Foundation or Samaritans.