We all know that being active is vital to physical health. It lowers blood pressure, increases energy levels, helps with relaxation and improves your health in general. But did you know that staying active can also help our mental wellbeing?
Even though we know staying active is important, things can sometimes get in the way… In fact, around twenty million adults in the UK are not currently active… This can be even harder for people with serious mental health problems, which may mean they have more physical health problems such as diabetes, hypertension or smoking-related issues.
In fact, people with serious mental health problems such a schizophrenia or bipolar disorder live 10 to 20 years less than the general population. We think this needs to change.
At the Mental Health Foundation, we want to understand how people with serious mental health problems can be supported to become more physically active, so we’ve partnered with some of the field’s brightest minds and listened to what people had to say as we developed and delivered a three-month physical activity intervention in Northern Ireland for people with serious mental health problems.
We employed researchers living with or affected by mental health problems to evaluate the programme and find out what worked well and what could be improved. Ultimately this study helped us understand: how we can design a physical activity programme that people with serious mental health problems can and want to take part in? And how we can better support people with mental health problems to become more active in their daily life…
There are many ways we can all benefit from staying active and this definitely doesn’t just mean going to the gym… It’s all about getting your body moving whatever shape or age you are.
Because physical activity should be accessible and available to everyone.