Making sure physical activity is a regular part of your daily routine can at once increase your self-esteem and reduce your stress and anxiety, the report claims.
Exercise can also act as prevention and treatment for a range of mental illnesses including anxiety and depression.
According to studies, people who regularly exercise have a 20-30% lower risk of developing depression and dementia.
The report recommends people use physical activity as a way of regulating their moods throughout the day, but it also warns against doing too much. Overdoing exercise can, the report says, lead to ‘short-lived negative effects’ such as low mood and irritability. “People should choose a type of physical activity based on what they enjoy doing,” it says.
While the report makes clear the benefits of exercise, it also shows some gloomy health statistics.
According to statistics, most people in the UK do not do enough exercise to live long and happy lives. Only 40% of men manage the government recommended two and a half hours of physical activity a week, while for women that number is as low as 28%.
The NHS recommends adults partake in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. That amounts to about 21 minutes a day – not much in the grand scheme of things.
The report has been released in time for Mental Health Awareness Week.
If depression, anxiety or any other mental illness is something you are currently struggling with, then it is important to get help. While studies show exercise may be able to help, you should always seek guidance from a medical professional before drastically changing your routine. To find out more about how a counsellor can help, please visit our Types of Distress page.
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