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Movement and exercise for better mental health – Quick Tips

Movement and exercise for better mental health –  Quick Tips – part of Paul Carter’s Quick Tips series, we look at a variety of areas and consider three things that you can do to implement change straight away. Today we are looking at movement and exercise.

Exercising can make us more resilient, lift our mood, reduce stress levels, help with depression, give us a confidence boost and help us sleep better. According to the Mental Health Foundation:

“Even a short burst of 10 minutes of brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood.”

Below are a list of ideas that you can try to help you to increase your exercise. Everyone is different and so they might not all work, but it might be interesting to try them out and see which ones do work for you.

The exercise or movement that you choose will depend on your fitness and health, be careful not to overdo things. If you have any concerns about exercising, always check with your GP first.

  • Choose an activity you will enjoy, whether it is alone or part of a team
  • Walk – its free, you can explore your local area, get into nature, make contact with other people in your local area
  • Create a routine where exercise is a part of your day, maybe you always go for a walk before work or walk to work, or walk round the block at lunchtime.
  • Start small and slowly and build up to more as you get comfortable
  • Be realistic about what you can do – time wise, physically, financially etc
  • Be consistent even if one day you can only do a fraction of what you did the day before, showing up and being consistent will have a cumulative effect.
  • If you are not keen on exercising outside consider exercising inside. For instance on you tube you can find walking videos that you can do inside. Lucy Wyndham-Reed has a number of walking videos, walking around different cities.
  • Think about small ways that you can add extra movement or exercise into your day. For instance, you could have a standing desk or a walking pad in your home. You could sit on the floor more as this makes us practice our balance and strength. Garden more, do your ironing, cook with less equipment don’t use the dishwasher unless you have to. Not all of these examples will be for you but some of them may offer you an opportunity to naturally move more in your day.

If you feel that you would like to speak to someone about difficulties you are having, you might find speaking to a therapist helpful. Paul offers Psychotherapy and counselling, EMDR and Clinical Supervision. If you are struggling with any issue and would like to make an appointment with Paul please call Paul on 07843 813 537 or fill in the form on the Contact Page, if he doesn’t answer he is probably in a session, please leave him a message and he will call you back as soon as he can. For more information about Paul please take a look at the About Paul PageFrequently Asked Questions Page and The Counselling Services Page.

Online Resources

Helpguide.org – The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Better Health – Exercise and Mental Health

Health Direct – Exercise and Mental Health

Mayo Clinic Depression and Anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms

Walden University – 5 Benefits of Exercise

Resources on this website

Exercise and Mental Health – Developing a Practice

Walking for Mental Health

Movement to Improve Your Health

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