Mental wellbeing means feeling good — both about yourself and about the world around you. It means being able to get on with life in the way you want.
Moving the body, boosting the mind: running your way to better mental health
Physical activity can help people with mild depression. Evidence shows it can also help protect people against anxiety. Some scientists think being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem , self-control, and the ability to rise to a challenge. Adults aged 19 and over should do at least minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as fast walking or cycling, a week.
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Stress and the mind: quick-fix relaxation exercise | Mental Health Foundation
Anxiety in children Dealing with panic attacks 10 ways to fight your fears. Researchers still aren't sure why exercise appears to provide so many benefits to our brain and body. One factor could be increased blood flow , since aerobic work pumps fresh oxygen to the brain. Regardless of the cause, Joe Northey , an exercise scientist at the University of Canberra, said his research suggested that anyone in good health over age 50 should do 45 minutes to an hour of aerobic exercise "on as many days of the week as feasible.
The Importance of Mental Fitness
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Erin Brodwin. Vybar Cregan-Reid, author of Footnotes: How Running Makes Us Human, thinks that we still have more work to do to persuade people that exercise really is an effective way to improve our mental health.
People are slowly becoming more aware of these benefits, as barely a week goes by without some new trial or study being published that connects certain kinds of physical activity with mental wellbeing, but there is still some way to go with persuading people that moving outdoors is something of a miracle cure for many modern ills.
So how do we persuade people that physical activity can really help the mind, without sounding preachy, simplistic or smug?
One possible tactic would be for doctors to suggest exercise and offer discounted gym membership as an accompaniment to medication and therapy. The GP Andrew Schuman says that exercise is an increasingly important topic in his conversations with patients dealing with mental health issues. But when people are at their lowest ebb, it is easy to understand why a suggestion to simply move could sound ridiculous.
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Lauren not her real name , who works in primary mental healthcare, has some reservations about how exercise is recommended to patients who are suffering badly. Ideally, I think we need to be able to replicate these kinds of conditions in organised and funded schemes, which could then be prescribed. Parkrun may be part of answer.
Another running scheme aims to help the most vulnerable in society. The Running Charity was set up in to help young people who are homeless or disadvantaged, many of whom struggle with mental health issues.
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