Mental Health Awareness Week: Embracing Movement for Mental Health

Monday 13th May 2024


Movement and mental health go hand in hand, yet it's not just about vigorous workouts. Small actions can make a big difference in your wellbeing, even through overcoming obstacles and integrating movement into your daily routine is a step in the right direction.

Movement isn't limited to gym sessions; it encompasses any activity that gets your body moving and energy flowing. From a leisurely stroll to a vigorous workout, every movement counts and is a personal choice.

Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, enhancing mood and reducing stress. Studies show it also aids in managing stress, improving sleep, self-esteem, and cognitive function, while reducing anxiety and fostering social connections.

Various obstacles, from low energy to financial constraints, can hinder physical activity. Recognising these barriers and finding personalised solutions is key to overcoming them and making movement accessible to all.

Here are some solutions to overcome movement obstacles:

1. Low Energy:
- Start with small, manageable activities like short walks or gentle stretches.
- Prioritise getting enough sleep and maintaining a balanced diet to boost energy levels.
- Break physical activity into shorter, more frequent sessions throughout the day rather than trying to do it all at once.

2. Financial Constraints:
- Look for free or low-cost exercise options such as walking or jogging outdoors, using workout videos on YouTube, or utilising community recreation centres.
- Explore affordable fitness apps or online programs that offer guided workouts at a fraction of the cost of gym memberships.
- Check if your workplace or community offers discounts or subsidies for fitness-related activities.

3. Lack of Time:
- Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine by taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking further away from your destination, or doing household chores more vigorously.
- Schedule exercise sessions into your calendar like any other appointment to ensure they become a priority.
- Consider combining socialising with physical activity by exercising with friends or family members.

4. Lack of Motivation:
- Set achievable and realistic goals for yourself, and track your progress to stay motivated.
- Find activities that you enjoy and look forward to, whether it's dancing, hiking, or playing a sport.
- Join a fitness class or group where you can receive support and encouragement from others with similar goals.

5. Physical Limitations or Health Concerns:
- Consult with a healthcare professional or physiotherapist to create a safe and suitable exercise plan tailored to your abilities and health needs.
- Focus on low-impact activities like swimming, yoga, or tai chi that are gentle on the joints and muscles.
- Listen to your body and modify exercises as needed to prevent injury and discomfort.

By addressing these obstacles and implementing personalised solutions, individuals can overcome barriers to physical activity and make movement an integral part of their daily lives.

Let's empower ourselves to prioritise movement for our mental wellbeing. Together, let's break down barriers and embrace a healthier, happier lifestyle.