The physical benefit of exercise has been common knowledge for many years, preventing diseases and providing significant health benefits. Exercise also has an immense potential to enhance our well-being and improve our focus. Heightened by lockdowns and social restrictions in the UK, many of us have or know someone who has struggled with mental health issues. The Centre of Mental Health and partners estimated that 10 million people will need new or additional mental health support over the next three to five years, induced by the effects of the pandemic. Spreading mental health awareness with the help of social media has helped to reach out to a large number of people who may be struggling in silence and are unsure where to find help. Physical exercise is just a small step you can take to improve your mental health and well-being. 

It is recommended that adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week, activities as simple as walking or riding a bike are a great way to get started but in the longer-term why not join a local gym or sports club. 

So how does physical exercise improve your well-being? Here a 5 reasons you should partake in physical exercise:

  • Physical exercise reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety – regular exercise releases feel-good endorphins and takes your mind off worries, promoting positive thoughts and enhancing your sense of well-being.
  • Reduced feeling of stress – exercise can have a positive impact on your mood immediately, improving calmness and clarity. In addition, Improvements to your overall health may indirectly help moderate stress levels.
  • Improves body image and self-esteem – research has proven time and time again that exercise helps to promote a positive body image, making you feel better about yourself and giving you confidence.
  • Social interaction and making new friends – exercising is a fantastic opportunity for you to meet new people, not only improving your social skills but also improving your well-being. Giving you a break from work and giving you a chance to reset and come back to things with a fresh perspective.
  • Enhances thinking, learning and overall cognitive health – Multiple studies have found exercise prevents mild cognitive impairment, as it improves blood flow around the body and increases oxygen to the brain. Exercise also stimulates the production of growth hormones that help to create new brain cells.

Although integrating physical exercise into your daily routine may prove tricky at first, if you create a weekly plan you are more likely to stay motivated and see the physical as well as the mental health benefits.