Physical exercise can help your mental health

If you suffer with mental health conditions such as stress and anxiety, becoming physically active can assist in improving your mood. Physical exercise can help your mental health in a number of ways, and it doesn’t have to be joining a CrossFit box or running a marathon. By simply moving your body more, you are increasing your physical exercise.

There are a number of physical exercises that you can do at home, including:

  • Chair exercises
  • Gardening
  • Active household chores such as hoovering or cleaning windows
  • Playing active computer games
  • Walking up and down your stairs
  • Doing stretching exercises while watching your favourite TV programme

Physical activity releases a chemical in your brain which helps to make you feel better. Even a short walk every day can begin to help your mental health conditions improve.

Free physical activities to help your mental health

Physical exercise can be achieved without any additional cost to you. By looking online or speaking to your GP, you can find out more about free exercise options in your area.

Take a look at the website below, as an example. The Active Essex Foundation is a charity set up to help increase levels of activity and sport in all communities. It provides a wealth of information and help to people across the county. In fact, wherever you live in the UK, you should be able to access an “Active” website for help in your local community.

If you don’t want to join a group, or don’t feel comfortable in a gym environment, why not simply go for a short walk? Building up your levels of exercise, even if slowly, can see your mental health condition start to improve.

What if physical activity does not help your mental health?

Exercise may not always be the answer for your mental health issues. When you are feeling unwell, you should not push yourself until you feel better. For people who suffer with OCD, eating disorders or anxiety, physical exercise can sometimes cause the symptoms to get worse. Listen to your body and speak to a medical professional if you think exercise and activity is resulting in your mental health declining.

You should consider the reasons for reducing or limiting your physical activity, particularly if your medication and physical health conditions could inhibit the activity you want to undertake. Ideally, you want to engage in physical activity to help your mental health, but you should not do so if this will have adverse effects.

Why not try different types of physical activity?

Don’t limit your activity options! With so many options to choose from, you can mix up your routine to avoid getting bored. By planning your week ahead, you can easily increase your physical activity. If you don’t feel like swimming, go for a walk. Walking your dog can really help your mental health. When you are conscious about your body, try exercising at home. Dance around your kitchen or do stretching exercises from your armchair. There are various options available at local sports centres and clubs for both women-only and men-only activities. Being conscious about your body need not limit your options; by starting with low impact activity options, you can give yourself a great start and this will boost your mental health through physical activity.

Low impact exercise activities include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Water aerobics
  • Tai Chi
  • Walking football or walking netball

Even if you only achieve 5 more minutes today than you did yesterday, this will still help you to boost your health for tomorrow!

Private medical insurance policies that reward you for your physical activity

There are health insurance providers that offer rewards and discounts relating to healthy behaviour. If you have an insurance policy of this type, you can access great offers when you increase your healthy lifestyle. You do not need to be an Olympic athlete to qualify for rewards and discounts, just increase your activity at a pace that works for you.

Gym membership discounts are often available on health insurance plans. This, in turn, helps you to reduce your out-goings associated with getting fit for the future.

The team at Ascend Health can help you to to find the right health insurance, whether you are looking for yourself, your family or your business. Health insurance also has the option to include cover for mental health conditions. For new policy or renewal quotations, please get in touch with us today.

Email: or telephone: 01245 929129

We look forward to helping you soon!