|We all know the impacts of physical activity on our body – including weight loss, a healthy heart and maybe even some rippling muscles. But did you know the positive effect it can have on your mental health and wellbeing too?
Despite the perception that mind and body are separate, what you do with your body can have a huge influence on your mental state.
During these difficult times when we’re spending more time than ever stuck inside, getting outside once a day (unless you’re isolating or shielding) is absolutely vital. Even just a 30 minute walk will get you some much-needed vitamin D, fresh air and time away from a screen. We promise you’ll feel much better!
The science behind it
According to scientists, getting outside and being active helps maintain and improve wellbeing in a number of ways, including:
- Better sleep – by making you feel more tired at the end of the day, you’re likely to sleep better -helping you feel refreshed and ready to face the day
- Happier moods – Physical activity releases feel-good endorphins 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, like now
Physical activity is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood. I think we could all do with a bit of that at the moment!
Some scientists think being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge.
Research suggests that doing physical activity in an outdoor, ‘green’ environment has positive effects on wellbeing, especially when paired with online classes.
But don’t take it from us – commit to getting outdoors once a day and see the improvement it makes!