Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May) this year is focused on how important movement is for our mental health and we have produced some tips and a video to help support people to take some moments of movement for their mind.

Moving our bodies – even if it’s just for a few minutes – has a positive impact on our minds, releasing chemicals in our brains, including dopamine, which help improve our mood.

Exercise and movement:

  • Lowers stress levels and reduces anxiety
  • Helps develop a routine
  • Helps us to connect with nature
  • Improves our self-esteem
  • Offers some protection against cognitive decline.

Harry Stephenson, Health and Leisure Coordinator at the Trust, said: “Not all of us can run a marathon or climb a mountain, so we are encouraging people to add movement to their daily lives – a short walk, yoga, or a quick dance around the kitchen are all really great ways to get moving. All types of movement help with improving, or maintaining, our mental health. Physical health is a really important element in helping keep us mentally well, and is one of the five ways to wellbeing.

“We know how hard it can be to start exercising. So take it slow at first, and try and find something you enjoy while setting yourself realistic goals. Try and make it part of your daily life if you can – so a walk at lunchtime or a dance while the kettle is boiling can help squeeze the moments of movement into a busy day. Any movement at all helps.

“For those people who have more limited mobility, we know it can be daunting to engage in exercise, so we have produced a video that you can follow at home, with some chair-based exercises"

People can also read our blog by Sam Tyrer, our Head of Change Talks, with some tips on encouraging children and young people to exercise.

The NHS website has lots of tips on movement and exercise, including exercise videos.