Keep active for the summer months and not only will you have a healthy body but a healthy mind too. Scientists have discovered that exercise makes your brain release chemicals that make you feel good - the same chemicals that you get from antidepressants. For mild depression, research shows that physical activity can be as good as antidepressants or psychological treatments like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
For good mental health, you should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, five days a week. Don't panic - this isn't as bad as it sounds! The key word here is moderate.
Moderate exercise means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, but you can still talk. It could include things like:
- Take the stairs not the lift.
- Go for a walk at lunchtime.
- Walk into work.
- Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work.
- 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.
- Take the kids swimming.
You can do it as one 30-minute session, or break it up into shorter 10- or 15- minute sessions. Choose something you enjoy - if you hate it, you won't stick to it. Find something that fits into your day and is right for you.
Of course, when you're feeling down, exercise is often the last thing you feel like doing. That's why it's useful to exercise with a friend, so you can motivate each other. Set goals and measure your progress, so you can see the difference it makes.
Exercise doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.
Why not try Wolverhampton Walking for Health scheme to help you meet new people and stay motivated. Walking for Health in Wolverhampton has over 40 regular walks in different areas of the City. The walks are especially suited for people who currently don't do much walking but who want to get healthier, fitter and be happier.
For a full list of all our walks including information on walk start times and meeting locations etc please visit http://www.walkingforhealth.org or if you would like a timetable by post please give us a call on 0800 073 4242