Welcome back to the Five Ways to Wellbeing series - part two. The second step for improving your wellbeing is being active. We all know that being active is great for our physical health, but it also has amazing benefits for our mental health too.
But, being active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours sweating it out in the gym. Even gentle activities can provide the same benefits to our brains. Find sports, games or activities that are enjoyable and practical for you, and build them into your regular routine.
How does being active benefit our mental health?
Physical activity boosts mood, by prompting the release of positive ‘feel-good’ hormones. It promotes better blood flow, meaning a more oxygenated brain,and can improve the quality of our sleep. There is an extremely strong link between physical and mental health, so taking care of our bodies and minds is a mutually beneficial endeavour. Physical activity is a fantastic alternative treatment, and a great tool for self-management of mental wellbeing.
Physical activity is associated with reduced rates of depression and anxiety; slowing cognitive decline; and encouraging social interaction. Win, win, win!
Time to get physical:
Go for a walk at lunchtime
Organise a work sporting activity
Have a kick-about in a local park
Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning
Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing
Struggling to think of ways to build being active into your life? The Mental Health Foundation has some fantastic tips to help you get more active, and boost your wellbeing!
How can I be active with English?
Being active is a great way to boost your English learning! Especially here in Barcelona where there are so many international groups and activities on hand. Maybe you could try a beach boot-camp, and expand your vocabulary with various exercise terms! Do you like to workout at home? Why not try a video with an English-speaking instructor? With visual prompts to aid you, you’ll be growing your English knowledge in no time. Or if you’re after something a bit less strenuous, why not just take a gentle stroll the next time you meet your friends at the bar?!
Now I’ve finished writing this blog, I’m heading to the beach for some volleyball play-time! How are you moving your body today?
Check back next week for the third of the five ways to wellbeing! Take notice : are you aware of how being present can affect our mental health?