We all know that being physically active is good for our bodies. But our physical health and mental health are closely linked – so physical activity can be very beneficial for our mental health and wellbeing too.
Lots of us don't get enough exercise to stay healthy, but physical activity is particularly important if you have a mental health problem. This is because people with mental health problems are more likely to have a poor diet, smoke or drink too much alcohol, or be overweight/obese (this can be a side effect of taking medication).
So if you have a mental health problem, the health benefits of becoming more physically active are even more significant.
We all have different reasons for being active. The types of activity we do usually fall under these headings:
• Physical activity. This can describe anything we do that involves moving our bodies
• Exercise. Any physical activity could be considered exercise, but when we talk about doing exercise we usually mean activities we do deliberately for fitness or training, rather than something that's part of our daily routine
• Sport. Sport usually refers to physical activities we do on our own or in a team for competition or fun. People working in the sport and leisure industries use the word in its broadest sense, including activities such as tennis, athletics, swimming, keep-fit or Zumba classes. Some sports such as snooker or darts are more about skill than any physical exertion
Physical activity has a wide range of health benefits – for your mind and body, and for your social and emotional wellbeing.
Physical health benefits
As well as improving your overall physical fitness, being more active can have the following physical benefits:
Cycling helped me lose weight and I feel better about myself. But after being active for a few days I need a good sleep. That's important too!
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