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Physical activity

Physical activity is linked to mental health. Learn how being active can improve your mind.

We all know that being physically active is good for our bodies but it is also closely linked to our mental health and wellbeing. Many of us don't get the exercise we need to stay healthy but it is an important component of a healthy lifestyle, not just for our physical health but for the way our minds work.

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is defined as anything involving body movement requiring expenditure of energy. It doesn't have to be physically demanding and can be as fun as you want to make it. Whether you choose to regularly go jogging or even just a go for a light stroll around the neighbourhood, there are plenty of ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

People often shy away when it comes to words like 'exercise' and 'sport' but these are broad terms and no matter who you are, there are activities to meet your needs and ability.

MindCharity organisation, Mind, have produced a list of some great ways to stay in shape and boost your mental health. Take a look at some of the examples below or visit the Mind website to find out more.

Reduced mobility, low energy - Chair-based exercise such as stretching or routinely moving arms and legs keeps the blood flowing; this is good for your body and will help to keep your brain awake to process new information

Moderate activity, low-mid energy - Walking, gardening or that dreaded housework; you don't have to be out of breath to improve your physical and mental health

moderate activity, mid-high energy - Jogging and running are prime examples of some cardiovascular activities which will benefit you both physically and mentally. Dancing, gym-based exercise and classes are great for those rainy days.

Benefits of physical activity on mental health

Most of us feel good when being active. It helps us to forget about stressful situations and improves our mood. Your chosen physical activity should be something you enjoy, not something you avoid.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggest that physical activity is more likely to help you:

  • RCoPfeel good about yourself
  • sleep better
  • improve your memory
  • retain mobility as you get older

Any exercise is better than none, and moderate exercise seems to work the best. Fast walking without getting out of breath for around 30 minutes a day (in one session or blocks throughout the day) has been found to be an effective method of lowering the risk of many physical health conditions as well as impacting on health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Local support and services

We provide access to a range of group support sessions and physical activities for people referred by a health professional within the Mental Health Service

Please note, support sessions and other activities provided are only open to people referred from within the Mental Health Service. Referred service users can find out more about these sessions by visiting our Mental Health Service webpage.

GoDoActive - Landscape logoThrough collaborative partnerships across government, local authorities, private and third sectors, the GoDoActive Group is looking to increase the profile of physical activity and support active living on the Isle of Man.

To find out more, visit our GoDoActive webpage.

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