Advance your mental health

We know that being active is good for your physical health, but when your body feels good, so does your mind.

Yetunde Bankole, Lead Mental Health and Wellbeing Coach at Vitality explains that this is why this year's Mental Health Awareness Week focused on exercise, and the power it has to strengthen and improve your mental health.

At Vitality we know that people who were active at least two days a week were 17% less likely to have a serious challenge to their mental health. health insurance, and we also know that when it comes to the working world, mental health issues have the biggest negative impact on productivity. Those at risk of depression, fatigue and burnout lose 151%, 141% and 120% more productive days compared to those who do not report these health problems**.

All this shows how important it is to our wider health and should not be treated in isolation. We need to look at mental health more holistically and consider how it affects our physical health and our lives, at work and at home.

Still, it can be difficult to find the time to be more active when you're juggling a busy work and family life, but getting started and building healthy habits doesn't have to be an arduous journey and there are several steps that will easily help you build more movement in your life.

The connection between exercise and mental health

Before we look at the simple ways to increase exercise into your life, it's important to understand how big an impact it can have on your body and mind.

Incorporating more activity and exercise into your life can help strengthen your muscles, bones, heart and lungs. This means that you make yourself physically stronger when you get sick.

When we exercise, our bodies release dopamine and endorphins, which have been proven to help a variety of conditions, such as depression and anxiety. It can even help improve your sleep quality, leaving you feeling more rested and ready to tackle the day. Highlights why physical activity is an important tool in managing mental wellbeing, giving your body and mind the energy boost it needs to get you through the day with more strength and drive.

How to get started

Knowing where to start can be daunting and even impossible when you combine a busy work schedule with a busy home life. The most important thing to remember, however, is that the best activity is the next activity.

A little activity goes a long way, and it's important to note that you don't have to run a marathon on the weekend to feel the positive effects.

In fact, data based on Habit Index research conducted by Vitality and the London School of Economics has found that taking just 7,500 steps three or more times a week can have profound effects on your overall health, with people aged 65 and over able are to reduce their annual number of steps. mortality risk by 52%.

Therefore, find something you enjoy doing and reserve small moments for it during the week; whether that's yoga, swimming, taking a lunchtime walk with a colleague or even dancing to your favorite song.

As long as you exercise regularly, you will enjoy many mental benefits, including reduced stress and mental fatigue, and increased focus and energy.

Overcoming the motivation block

If you want to get more exercise but are struggling to find the motivation or feel like you're running out of energy due to your current mental health, start small and build up gradually. Take a screen break by taking a 10-minute walk outside or around the house or take the stairs instead of the elevator at the office.

And if going it alone is holding you back, try taking regular walks with a co-worker or seeing what health benefits your employer offers. Many employers offer health-oriented interventions such as group yoga classes or employee-run clubs. These are all easy and useful ways to meet like-minded people and build a group that will give you support, encouragement and guidance on your journey.

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