Research shows that keeping active helps protect both your physical health and your mental health. Regular exercise will help you sleep and relax, look and feel better. A half hour walk most days can make all the difference to your wellbeing.
Exercise improves mood, helps reduce stress and boosts energy levels. Exercise can also be a good way to meet people and get more involved in your community.
How do I get started?
Any amount of exercise will have positive effects on how you are feeling but regular exercise is most helpful. Try to include some exercise in your everyday activities.
Find something active you enjoy - football, swimming, walking, dancing, boxing or cycling - and then just do it. It may be hard work, but it’s worth the effort.
Start gently and aim to build up to 20 or 30 minutes of exercise every day.
Improve your motivation by trying group activities or asking a friend to join you.
You can also track your activity and set yourself challenges.
What if I don’t like sport or don’t have time?
There are lots of different activities and sports, and there really is something for everyone. Keep trying things until you find something you enjoy. The more fun you have when exercising, the better it is for your mental health.
You can also include physical exercise as part of your regular routine. Many of us do this without even realising, for example walking to the shops or the post office, gardening, doing housework, playing ball with our children or getting off the bus a couple of stops earlier when going to work.