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  • Writer's pictureWendy Hooker

ACTIVE APRIL











Spring is here, so let’s take a look at some of the benefits of being active both physically and mentally on our wellbeing:


Stress Reduction - Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins and neurotransmitters which can help promote feelings of well-being

Boost Memory – Science has shown that physical exercise can help improve memory and cognitive recall

Improve Mood - Physical activity can help alleviate symptoms of depression, promoting a more positive outlook on life

Help with Feelings of Worry and Anxiety – Engaging in positive activities can help focus the mind in the present moment and lessen worry and anxious thoughts

Better Sleep - Regular activity can improve sleep quality and duration, helping to regulate sleep patterns and promote restful sleep

Increase Self-Esteem - Achieving goals and feeling physically strong can help to boost self-esteem and confidence

Enhanced Cognitive Function – Regular exercise has been linked to improved cognitive function, including better memory, focus and concentration

Less Tension - We can hold stress and tension in our bodies and physical exercise and engaging in positive activities for ourselves can help to let this go.

Natural Energy Boost and Reduced Mental Fatigue– Regular physical exercise can help increase energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue

Social Interaction - Participating in group activities or sports can provide opportunities for social interaction and support, which are important for mental and emotional well-being

Strengthened Immune System – Regular activity can help to boost the immune system and reduce the risk of illness and long-term health conditions

 

Keeping active through regular exercise offers several benefits specifically for managing stress, depression and anxiety;


Stress


Endorphin release – Exercise stimulates the production of endorphins, neurotransmitters in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood elevators. This release can help reduce feelings of stress and tension

Stress Relief – Engaging in physical and mental activity can provide an outlet for pent up energy and emotions which can help to alleviate stress and promote relaxation

Distraction – Focussing on a positive activity can provide a temporary distraction from stressors and worries, allowing the mind to rest and relax

Improved Sleep – Regular exercise can improve sleep quality and duration, which is essential for managing stress levels and promoting overall well-being

 

Depression


Neurotransmitter Regulation – Exercise and engaging in positive activities can help regulate neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine and Norepinephrine which play key roles I mood regulation. This can help reduce feelings of depression and improve mood

Increased Self-Esteem – Achieving goals and feeling physically well can help to boost self-esteem and confidence which can be diminished when we feel depressed.

Social Interaction – Participating in group activities or exercise classes can provide opportunities for social interaction and support, reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness which can be associated with depression

Sense of Accomplishment -Completing an activity, whether it be physical or otherwise, can provide a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment which can help to feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness

 

Anxiety


Stress Reduction – Exercise can help to reduce levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and Cortisol, which can contribute to anxiety symptoms

Mind-Body Connection – Activities such as yoga, tai chi and mindfulness based exercises can help promote relaxation helping tocalm the mind and reduce anxiety

Improved Coping Skills - Regular exercise can improve resilience and coping skills, making it easier to cope with stressful and anxiety provoking situations

Distraction – Like with stress, engaging in a positive activity can provide a distraction from anxious thoughts and worries, allowing individuals to focus on the present moment

 

Staying active can be a helpful tool in managing stress, anxiety and low mood. We don’t need to take out an expensive gym membership to be physically active, simple things like going for a walk, walking, gardening, dancing, being out in nature, using a green gym in a local park, taking the dog for an extra walk, even walking to the shops instead of driving are all things we can do to help our physical health. It’s important to find activities you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle to make exercise a sustainable part of your self-care routine.

 

Mental Activity


Our brains need to be kept active  as well and we are never too old to learn new things! Here are some ideas:


  • ·Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, join that class you’ve always wanted to

  • Listen to music – research shows that this can help reduce stress, increase motivation, boost mood and improve sleep

  • Engage in problem solving tasks like logic puzzles, games or if feeling brave an escape room!

  • ·Play word games, scrabble, sudoku, word searches, crosswords

  • Social contact – We all need to belong and feel a valued part of something, whether it be a local group or the wider community. Maybe join that club you’ve always wanted to…..

  • Work/Volunteering - Research shows that this can reduce the risk of depression, teach valuable skills, provide a sense of purpose and offer a new way to connect with people

  • Connect with our local communities - No-one is meant to live in isolation! Discover purpose, support and a sense of belonging in engaging with what around us

  • Take time to notice the small things – the sound of birdsong in the morning, the smell of freshly cut grass, even how good the aroma of your first morning coffee is! Simple things can put a smile on our faces!

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And a final word…..


HAVE FUN!


Anything which makes you smile or laugh is worth doing….







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