How to look after your mental health using exercise

Document type
Guide
Publisher
Mental Health Foundation
Date of publication
18 January 2016
Subject(s)
Mental health services, Health Services
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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This short guide emphasises the importance of ‘well-being’ and how physical activity can help improve our mental health.

There are many reasons why physical activity is good for your body – having a healthy heart and improving your joints and bones are just two, but did you know that physical activity is also beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing?

There are many studies looking at physical activity at different levels of intensity and its impact on people’s mood. Overall, research has found that low-intensity aerobic exercise – for 30–35 minutes, 3–5 days a week, for 10–12 weeks – was best at increasing positive moods (e.g. enthusiasm, alertness).

We need to change the way we view physical activity in the UK in order not to see it as something we ‘have to do’, ‘should do’ or ‘ought to do’ for our health, but as something that we do because we personally value its positive benefits to our well-being.