Mental Health

Research tells us that increased levels of physical activity can benefit your body and your mind. There are lots of mental health benefits from taking part in physical activity.

Mental Health

By providing a movement, activity and a volunteering offer, you are already playing a part to supporting peoples mental health. Research tells us that increased levels of physical activity can benefit your body and your mind. The mental health benefits of physical activity include:

  • Reduced anxiety and happier moods. When you exercise, your brain chemistry changes through the release of endorphins (sometimes called ‘feel good’ hormones), which can calm anxiety and lift your mood.
  • Reduced feelings of stress. You may experience reductions in feelings of stress and tension as your body is better able to control cortisol levels.
  • Clearer thinking. Some people find that exercise helps to break up racing thoughts. As your body tires so does your mind, leaving you calmer and better able to think clearly.
  • A greater sense of calm. Simply taking time out to exercise can give you space to think things over and help your mind feel calmer.
  • Increased self-esteem. When you start to see your fitness levels increase and your body improve, it can give your self-esteem a big boost. The sense of achievement you get from learning new skills and achieving your goals can also help you feel better about yourself and lift your mood. Improved self-esteem also has a protective effect that increases life satisfaction and can make you more resilient to feeling stressed.
  • Reduced risk of depression. If you’re more active there’s good evidence to suggest that at most ages, for both men and women, there’s a trend towards lower rates of depression. In fact one study has found that by increasing your activity levels from doing nothing to exercising at least three times a week, you can reduce your risk of depression by almost 20%.

(Source: How to improve your wellbeing through physical activity and sport, Mind www.mind.org.uk)

One in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. These will be individuals that are attending your settings and activities, they are your workforce and parents. Make sure you have the knowledge, skills and confidence to better understand and support people living with mental health problems, and create a positive environment that ensures they enjoy the benefits of being active and keep coming back for more.

Signposting – you are not expected to be a counsellor or directly support someone with a mental health concern. See the downloads below for a document that provides a list of numbers and websites to signpost people to.

Links & Networks – making links with your local mental health organisations is a great idea or being part of a network to learn and share from each other.

  • To sign up to the Yorkshire & Humber Mental Health Champion scheme visit this link.

Toolkit – our online learning platform has a Toolkit designed to support you through ensuring your setting is a ‘mental health friendly organisation’. Find out more here: Mental Health Friendly Organisations Toolkit

Training – We firmly believe that Mental Health training should be offered and encouraged through settings. A list of learning & development options can be found on our courses page. Some current opportunities include:

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