Physical Activity & Mental Health

Increased levels of physical activity can benefit your body and your mind.

People with mental health problems can be at a higher risk of developing serious physical health issues, meaning that increased levels of physical activity is very important if you have a mental health problem.

Mental health benefits of physical activity:

  • 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: How to improve your wellbeing through physical activity and sport, Mind

Mental Health Friendly Organisations

We have created a simple framework for clubs and organisations to work through, it will encourage you to take simple and practical actions to make your activities positive, supportive and open to all.

Who is this for?

This programme is designed for community settings and clubs so they feel confident to support their members mental health. We feel that this is a organisational improvement tool and suggest involvement from multiple people.

What's involved?
We've work with experts and tested with organisations, to design a checklist for you to work through. With resources, links and video's to support you to implement within your own setting.

What's next?
Click the "discover the resources" picture below. This will take you to our Mental Health Friendly Organisation module where you can access the checklist and supporting resources. Once you've worked through the checklist, you should be confident that your setting offers a positive environment to support mental health and wellbeing. There is also the opportunity to receive a digital badge and this information will be provided at the end of the module.