fitness improve your mental health
improve your mental health through physical activity and sport
why does being active matter ?
We all know that being physically active is good for our bodies. But our
physical health and mental health are closely linked – so physical activity
can be very beneficial for our mental health and well-being too.
Lots of us don't get enough exercise to stay healthy, but physical activity
is particularly important if you have a mental health problem. This is
because people with mental health problems are more likely to have a
poor diet, smoke or drink too much alcohol, or be overweight/obese
So if you have a mental health problem, the health benefits of becoming more physically active are even more significant.
What does being physically active mean?
We all have different reasons for being active. The types of activity we do usually fall under these headings:
• Exercise. Any physical activity could be considered exercise, but when we talk about doing exercise we usually mean activities we do deliberately for fitness or training, rather than something that's part of our daily routine.
• Sport. Sport usually refers to physical activities we do on our own or in a team for competition or fun. People working in the sport and leisure industries use the word in its broadest sense, including activities such as tennis, athletics, swimming, keep-fit or Zumba classes.
Physical health benefits
As well as improving your overall physical fitness, being more active can have the following physical benefits:
• Reduced risk of some diseases. For example, health experts suggest that being more active can reduce your risk of developing a stroke or heart disease by 10%, and type 2 diabetes by 30–40%.
• Reduced risk of physical health problems as our bodies adapt to stress. As we become fitter, our bodies can better regulate our cortisol levels. Cortisol is a ‘stress hormone’ that our bodies release in response to anxiety; over prolonged periods, higher cortisol levels have been linked to a wide range of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, a lowered immune response, as well as depression and anxiety.
• Healthier organs. When you're active your body is working more, which is good for your organs. For example, a stronger heart will help you have lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
• Healthier bones. Weight-bearing exercises will strengthen your bones and build your muscle, which can reduce your chances of developing osteoporosis.
• Healthier weight. If you're overweight, becoming more active can help you start to reduce body fat as your stamina and fitness levels improve.
• More energy. As your body adapts to increased activity levels you get a natural energy boost, which can make you feel less tired. Researchers say that even low intensity levels of activity can be beneficial if you usually feel very fatigued.
• Improved sleep. Many people find they are able to sleep better at night after having been more active during the day.
Mental health benefits
• Reduced anxiety and happier moods. When you exercise, your brain chemistry changes through the release of endorphins (sometimes called ‘feel good’ hormones), which can calm anxiety and lift your mood.
• Reduced feelings of stress. You may experience reductions in feelings of stress and tension as your body is better able to control cortisol levels. • Clearer thinking. Some people find that exercise helps to break up racing thoughts. As your body tires so does your mind, leaving you calmer and better able to think clearly.
• A greater sense of calm. Simply taking time out to exercise can give you space to think things over and help your mind feel calmer.
• Increased self-esteem. When you start to see your fitness levels increase and your body improve, it can give your self-esteem a big boost. The sense of achievement you get from learning new skills and achieving your goals can also help you feel better about yourself and lift your mood. Improved self-esteem also has a protective effect that increases life satisfaction and can make you more resilient to feeling stressed.
• Reduced risk of depression. If you're more active there's good evidence to suggest that at most ages, for both men and women, there's a trend towards lower rates of depression. In fact one study has found that by increasing your activity levels from doing nothing to exercising at least three times a week, you can reduce your risk of depression by almost 20%.
source : https://www.mind.org.uk/media/2976123/how-to-improve-your-wellbeing-through-physical-activity-and-sport.pdf