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Physical activity is good for your body but it's great for your mind too.

Source: Mental Health Foundation
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Research has shown that exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good - boosting your self-esteem, helping you concentrate as well as sleep, look and feel better. Not bad for something we can quite easily do for free!

Being active doesn’t have to mean taking out an expensive gym membership, jogging at 5am or sporting lycra. There are so many ways to be active and they can all help to improve your mental health.

Taking part in physical activities can be a great way to meet people. They can also offer us the chance of taking a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Leading an active life can help to improve your feelings of self-worth and foster confidence. Taking part in a form of exercise that you really enjoy can give you a goal to aim for and a sense of purpose.
A few benefits of exercise are:

  • less tension, stress and mental fatigue
  • a natural energy boost
  • improved sleep
  • a sense of achievement
  • focus in life and motivation
  • less anger or frustration
  • a healthy appetite
  • better social life
  • having fun

How active do I need to be?

Aim to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. It may sound like a lot, but it isn’t as daunting as it first appears. 'Moderate exercise' means being energetic enough that you:

  • breathe a little heavier than normal, but aren’t out of breath
  • feel warmer, but don’t end up hot and sweaty

You don’t have to jump in at the deep end. Build up slowly, at a pace that suits you. You might like to do 30 minutes per day, or you may prefer two split your time into two 15 minute sessions - it's entirely up to you!

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