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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Movement and Mind

Move more to feel better!

Studies show that increasing how much we move each day can improve our emotional wellbeing and mental health.

On this page we cover:

  1. Sleep better
  2. A natural high
  3. Manage stress, anxiety or negative thoughts
  4. Reduce the risk of depression
  5. Increase confidence, self-belief & self-esteem
  6. Relax, reflect and daydream
  7. Connect with people
  8. Challenge

There are 7 ways moving helps our mind. Here are tips to help you move more and feel better.

Being active is good for our minds – The Mind website explains this – ‘Physical activity and your mental health’

Does this mean you need to go to the gym every day? No!

How to move more:

1)Start with small chunks of movement and gradually do more

2)Choose ways to move more that are fun for you and your friends

3)Try making small changes to incorporate more movement into your day by doing things like:

- Taking the stairs instead of the lift
- Walk, bike or bus rather than taking the car
- Taking regular breaks to get up when on screens or gaming
- Make it fun (start a new hobby, dance, get competitive)

Read more on our 'Feeling Healthy' page.

“How does movement help our mind

1. Move more to sleep better

Studies show that physical activity can help your sleep in 3 ways by:

  • Increasing how long you sleep
  • Decreasing the time it takes you to fall asleep, and
  • improve the quality of your sleep

Read more about the importance of sleep.

Image of young person in bed

2. Move more for a natural high

Happy emoji character

The more we move our body the happier we feel.

When our heart rate increases – it burns off the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) which make us feel happier and relaxed.

20 or 30 minutes of physical activity that gets you breathless (like walking, running or biking), will release endorphins which will boost your energy – giving you a feel-good buzz for up to 24 hours!

3. Move more to manage stress, anxiety or negative thoughts

Being physically active helps get rid of stress and gives your brain something to focus on to help you stay positive when coping with difficult times.

‘When your body is busy, your mind isn’t’
image of a brain

Our minds are constantly thinking about the past and worrying about the future, but when we’re focusing on our body it keeps us in the present moment – we’re focused our pace, breathing and surroundings instead of worries!

4. Move more to reduce the risk of depression

Studies show that moving your body regularly can reduce the chances of you experiencing low mood or depression.

Do you know that a 30 minute walk, 5 times a week, that raises your heart rate, has the same effect as an antidepressant but with no side effects! 
5. Move more to increase confidence, self-belief & self-esteem

Developing a regular routine of any kind of physical activity will increase your body confidence and self-esteem too.

It builds in 3 different ways: 

  • By your word – By doing what you say, you build a belief and trust in yourself and feel more in control. For instance “I am going to complete a 5K Park Run!”.
  • Feel proud – During and after you complete any physical activity you feel good about your achievement. For instance you got a PB (personal best time) from running your last Park Run! 
  • Ride the wave – The sense of achievement you feel will help you face challenges and give you a boost to fulfil more goals – giving you more meaning and purpose. For instance “Now I can run 5K, I can try running 10K, and eventually run a marathon!”.
6. Move more to relax, reflect and daydream

For our brains to be well and able to make good decisions we need some time to ourselves each day away from people and technology to relax, reflect and daydream.

This allows us to make sense of all the information around during the day that we are constantly bombarded with, to problem solve and think for ourselves.

How we can move and get time to ourselves: 

  • Walk on your own to school
  • Run up the road and back or try a Park run
  • Go for a swim or to the gym
  • Go rollerblading or skate boarding
  • Dance in your room
  • Do some yoga or Tai Chi – any relaxing, stretching exercises.
Smiling emoji character
7. Move more to connect with people

We are all different, some people need more connection than others, but we all need an emotional connection with at least one other person (or pet) to stay mentally well. 

Joining a group of people who gather to do a physical activity, sport or exercise, can be a great way to:

  • build connections with others
  • feel more at ease at meeting new people and reduce social anxiety
Are you ready for a challenge? Take up the ‘Move more’ One Month Challenge!  

The recommended amount of movement each week for young people 18 years of age and younger is at least 60 minutes a day.

For one-month, challenge yourself to move more:
– Join a leisure activity,
– Get active with an App! We recommend these Apps: Couch-to-5k or Active10

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Page updated on August 30th, 2023 at 11:36am