We often think that the mind and body are separate. However, what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing means feeling good – both about yourself and about the world around you. It means being able to get on with life in the way you want.
Being active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym, if that doesn’t appeal to you. Find physical activities that you enjoy and think about how to fit more of them into your daily life. For more information or suggestions and ideas of being active visit our exercise page.
Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and evidence shows that it can also improve your mental wellbeing.
How keeping active through exercise improves your wellbeing
Scientists think that physical activity helps maintain and improve wellbeing in a number of ways. Keeping active physically can help people with mild depression. Evidence shows that it can also help protect people against anxiety. Staying active is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood. Some scientists think that being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a greater sense of self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge.
How you can be more active
- If you want to get active, think about physical activity in the broadest sense.
- It can help to read the physical activity guidelines for adults.
- Adults aged 19 and over should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – such as fast walking or cycling – a week.
- Find activities that you enjoy, then make them a part of your life.
- There’s lots of information and advice on NHS Choices and One You websites to help you get active (see below)
- Find activity ideas in Get fit for free.
- Start running with our Couch to 5K podcasts.
Find out how to start running, swimming, cycling and dancing in Exercise: getting started.
There is lots more information and advice on getting active in Health and fitness.
Physical activity GuidelinesLearn about the guidelines
Adults aged 19 and over should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – such as fast walking or cycling – a week. Learn more here.
Get Fit For FreeVisit the NHS Live Well Pages for more information
The secret to getting fit for free is to use every opportunity to be active, this website has some great information on it.
One You - Couch to 5k app
Get off the couch and running 5K in just 9 weeks. Grab your trainers and follow the step-by-step audio instructions.
One You - Get Active AppDownload the app
Add more regular bursts of brisk walking to your daily routine with activity tracking, encouragement and achievable milestones.