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How Does Physical Activity Improve Your Mental Health?

Although physical well-being has traditionally taken priority, there is a widening acknowledgement that mental well-being should be dealt with on an equal footing. There is also increasing evidence that physical activity can benefit your mental health. So how and why is this the case?

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The Link Between Mental and Physical Well-being

Being physically unwell can negatively impact your mental well-being, as it can make you feel anxious, stressed, hopeless and isolated.

Being mentally unwell can contribute to poor physical well-being, including fatigue, insomnia and digestive issues. It can also impact on your immune system – making you more susceptible to colds/viruses, etc.

How Physical Activity Can Help Boost Mental Health/Well-being

1. Improved sleep: because of the extra exertion, physical activity will make you feel more tired later in the day. This can improve your sleep quality and density.

2. Better mood: physical activities release what are known as “feel-good hormones”. These include dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins – all of which can make you feel more energetic, and improve your overall mood.
Mental Health Training

If you are based in Lancashire or the North West, there are several providers who offer mental health training courses Blackpool. Many of these companies also have useful online resources such as the examples seen here: https://www.tidaltraining.co.uk/mental-health-training-courses/blackpool.

3. Managing anxiety, stress or intrusive/racing thoughts: physical activities release cortisol, which is important for managing stress. They also act as a ‘distraction’ because your brain is focused on what you are doing rather than intrusive or unhelpful thoughts.

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4. Improved self-esteem: physical activities can help boost your self-esteem, as you can often clearly see how you are improving/benefiting. This might be getting better at a certain sport, getting faster (if running) or seeing a positive change in your physical appearance.

5. Connecting with others: physical activities can be done in groups or individually. Taking part in team/group activities can help you feel less isolated and more connected to others. You may even make new friends – something which helps to boost self-esteem.


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