Moving Towards Better Mental Health in May
By Sandra Chu | Corporate Health Manager | INmotivation | CORPORATE HEALTH
The first week of May is mental health week and a time to reflect on a few questions and life lessons:
Do you ever feel that there are too many demands on your time, and you can’t keep up?
Have you ever answered the question “How are you?” with the response “stressed”
Do you ever feel unproductive, anxious or overloaded at work?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone! Mental health issues are a growing concern in our society. The Mental Health Commission of Canada reports that in any given year, one in five people experience a mental health illness or problem. While recommendations to improve physical health and prevent disease are well presented and discussed, mental health has not been provided the same exposure. The good news is that many of the lifestyle behaviours that contribute to good physical health will also lead to good mental health with physical activity front and centre!
Regardless of age or fitness level, studies show that making time for exercise provides some significant mental benefits. So head to the pathways, hop on your bike, roll out your yoga mat or pick up those weights and be sound in both mind and body!
1. Manage stress – One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Managing mental stress is high on everyone’s list. Physical activity increases concentrations of a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress and improve your ability to deal with mental tension. So go sweat it off!
2. Maintain an active, agile brain – Ongoing studies are still looking into how much effect exercise will have in lowering the risk for the development of diseases such as Alzheimers. Early studies are promising and relate to the increased oxygen and blood flow to the brain. Exercise can’t hurt and will benefit your body in many other ways to keep you healthy overall.
3. Feel happy, be happy – Feel good endorphins are released when we exercise and are responsible for the ‘runners (exercise) high’ that occurs with exercise. You don’t have to be a marathoner though; 30 minutes of physical activity 2-3 times a week can enhance mood. Studies also show that symptoms of anxiety and depression can be minimized and managed through exercise.
4. Be more productive and work smarter – The midday work slump is legendary, but studies have shown that employees who engage in a short burst of activity (think a short walk) feel more energized for the rest of the day. Regular exercise can increase the development of brain cells responsible for memory, learning, decision making and critical thinking so you can get back to work and finish off a task that has been taking up more time than it should!
5. Relax! – When we are relaxed we feel calmer, less anxious and more at peace; all keys to good mental health. Exercise can provide an appropriate release of built up tension, enhance sleep and allow you to engage in an activity you enjoy leading to greater relaxed feelings.
Want to learn more?
- Get loud for Mental Health Week! Motivate your friends, family, and yourself to speak and reflect about mental health. Just use the #getloud hashtag on social media and learn more about ways to get involved in Mental Health Week.
- Find out about INLIV’s fitness and exercise programs – after all, fitness is one of the best ways to reduce stress! Start off by booking a consultation with a personal trainer. INLIV even offers e-fitness programs for those busy and on the go!
- See how we can help with your total health management
- Visit our Website to sign up for our newsletter and to stay up-to-date on our latest news, services, and tips. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Sandra graduated from Queen’s University before moving to Calgary to study and work in Athletic Therapy. She completed a Master’s degree in Exercise and Movement Science at University of Oregon, and has worked extensively in areas of exercise rehabilitation, including both sports and work disability medicine. Sandra reminds her clients that every step is important; no matter how small it all adds up to big change. In her spare time Sandra loves to travel the world to engage in new adventures and explore different cultures.