The link between physical and mental health

Research suggests there is a link between our physical and mental health, with regular exercise aiding wellbeing through the production of ‘feel good’ chemicals. Read our tips to get moving.

We often think of our physical and mental health as two separate things. But, research suggests that the two are inextricably linked. The link between physical and mental health is one of those ‘chicken and egg’ situations. In different people, one or the other may lead to or exacerbate, either mental health or physical conditions.

One reason why people with mental health conditions may have lower physical health is that they have fewer check-ups with their doctor (e.g. blood pressure or cholesterol), which can detect early symptoms.

Other times a physical illness or a long-term health condition can impact a person’s wellbeing. Many of us may know someone who has experienced mental health challenges off the back of an injury or illness.

 

“Many of us may know someone who has experienced mental health challenges off the back of an injury or illness.”

 

Regular exercise is something which may aid us as we strive for both physical and mental health. Exercise inherently contributes to physical health, but it also benefits our mental health through the production of ‘feel good’ chemicals, endorphins.

 

Five ideas to get you moving

1. Get out and about – Take a walk

Exercise doesn’t have to involve strenuous activity. It’s simply about getting your muscles moving and your blood pumping. If you live near a park, beach or public garden, take a stroll next time you get the chance.

 

2. Follow a fitness blogger

If you enjoy using social media, follow a fitness blogger, and put some of their advice into practice. Remember to go at your own pace though. You’re better off starting small and building your way up, than overdoing it the first time around.

 

3. Increase your strength

Increasing your strength doesn’t require an expensive gym membership. Use household objects, such as full water bottles, books or anything else you can safely and comfortably lift as weights.

 

4. Leave the car at home

When it makes sense, walk somewhere instead of taking the car. Every step you take may contribute to your cardiovascular health.

 

5. Invest in a pedometer

Using a pedometer, find out how many steps you’d usually take on a given day, and make incremental goals to increase it.

 

Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to go at your own pace and listen to your body.

 

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, give our SuicideLine Victoria team a call at any time of the day 1300 651 251.

If it is an emergency, call 000.

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