Whether it’s a kick about in the park, or heading out for a stroll, physical activity provides a great boost for mental wellbeing
We’ve all had times when things have felt overwhelming. The pressures of every day life can sometimes seem intense – and there can be a temptation to try and shrug your worries away.
But it’s important to make time for your mental wellbeing – to improve the ways you cope with things that happen day-to-day, and for when things get more difficult. When it comes to self-care though, it isn’t just about relaxing in front of the TV or escaping by playing video games.
One of the best ways to improve your mental wellbeing, and to maintain it, is by getting physically active. Research has shown that being more active is key to improving your mood – not only will you feel good from the endorphins that are released, it’ll help you to sleep better, leaving you feeling more refreshed.
It doesn’t have to be about ramping yourself up to complete a marathon, there are lots of small changes you can make – and that you can fit into everyday life – that will get you moving more. No matter how active you feel, there are activities which will suit you.
The physical benefits of walking are well known – by going out for a stroll, you’ll be burning calories, and strengthening your heart, bones and muscles. But just as vitally, it can help you focus on any challenges you’ve got coming up, or to clear your mind at the end of a busy day.
Another bonus is that it’s not something that needs any planning – whether it’s a wander to your local shops, or to get some air in the park, it’s a free and accessible option at any time.
The comforting effects of swimming have been explored in scientific research – being in water produces a meditative state, making us calmer and happier, and boosting our general wellbeing. By taking a trip to the pool, you can soothe both your mind and your body.
Have a kick about
Get together with friends for a game of football in the park, or even just with the family in the garden. A couple of jumpers for goalposts and you’ll be able to enjoy a run about and a chat. Whatever the final score, you’ll have had some fun and everyone’s mood will have been lifted.
Cardio exercise such as cycling – where your breathing and heart rate are increased for a sustained time – has been shown to be hugely beneficial for reducing stress. Alongside boosting your mood, going out for a bike ride has also been shown to increase mindfulness – meaning you’ll be focused on the present moment, enjoying the scenery and pushing the pedals, instead of dwelling on things.
You don’t have to get out and about to up your physical activity. One activity you can try at home is yoga, which helps balance, flexibility and strength. It can boost mental and physical energy, and is also thought to reduce levels of stress. There are plenty of free videos available online for you to follow, or just try giving your body a stretch.Uncategorised