This Mental Health Awareness week (15th – 21st May), we’d like to highlight the positive effect that exercise can have on your mental wellbeing.
Anxiety is a common emotion that most of us have likely experienced at some point in our lives, and we all have different ways of coping with this. For some people, heading to the gym or leisure centre is less about physical fitness and more about mental wellbeing. The science behind this is, when we exercise, our bodies release endorphins (otherwise known as ‘happy’ chemicals) that naturally lift our mood which is why some people find that moving their body helps when they’re feeling low or anxious. Any type of exercise is useful, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it. Exercise should be something you enjoy; otherwise, it may be hard to find the motivation to do it regularly. Even a brisk 10-minute walk can clear your mind and help you to relax.
To stay healthy, the NHS recommends adults should aim for 150-minutes of moderate-intensity activity every week. If you have not exercised for a while, start gradually and aim to build up towards achieving 150-minutes a week. At Life Leisure, we have an extensive number of activities to choose from, suitable for every age and ability, whether you’re into group exercise, swimming, or something more low impact.
Group exercise classes or sports are a great way to boost your mood through socialising. Sometimes, getting out of the house and being around other people in a happy and positive atmosphere can make all the difference. Paired with moving your body and the release of those happy hormones, you’ve got yourself a winning combo. You might even make some new friends! We have a wide range of studio classes on offer at Life Leisure, such as: Body Conditioning, BLT (Bums, Legs and Tums), Zumba, Yoga and more. All levels of ability are welcome, with adaptations for exercises given where needed. If sports are more your thing, take a look at our website for all the options available in our sports halls.
Prefer going for a dip? Life Leisure have five swimming pools across Stockport, with plenty of public swimming sessions running seven days a week. Regular swimming, even for just half an hour at a time, can boost your mood and reduce stress levels to help improve your mental wellbeing. It’s thought that swimming is a particularly good way to relax your body, soothe your mind and reduce anxiety. Why not give it a try next time you fancy some ‘me time’?
Exercise doesn’t have to mean attending the gym or leisure centre. Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. Walking is sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise; however, a brisk walk can help you build stamina, burn calories and even make your heart healthier. It also doesn’t mean you have to walk for hours on end. A quick 10-minute daily walk has lots of health benefits and counts towards your recommended 150-minutes of weekly exercise. Our free confidence walks at Life Leisure Avondale and Brinnington are perfect for those who are wanting to get more steps in and socialise at the same time.
If you have not exercised for a long time or are concerned about the effects of exercise on your body or health, please ask a GP about exercise on prescription.