Mental Health and Movement
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and to mark this important month, we want to talk about mental health and how exercising – and exercising with a community – can positively impact well-being. There isn’t one answer or one way for everyone but study after study shows that regular movement and exercise helps us feel better both physically and mentally. This doesn’t mean we have to run marathons (although you can!), it just means that if we replaced 15 minutes of sitting with 15 minutes of running (high intensity activity) or an hour of walking (low intensity activity), we could reduce our odds of becoming depressed by 26%. This is all according to a study done by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. And the good news is “exercise” can be something fun like doing an obstacle course, playing with our children at a park or playground or walking or running on a trail.
One might ask why exercise is one way to prevent and treat depression. Exercise promotes changes in the brain that include neural growth and reduced inflammation, and exercise releases endorphins – powerful chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Exercise is a great way to meet people and stave off loneliness too. It can help to have a “reason” to meet up with a new acquaintance or a way to connect with others that have similar interests. It’s also a healthy way to put away electronics and really connect with friends, family and community.
Mental health is coming to the forefront of many conversations and while getting and keeping active isn’t the only ingredient to better mental health, it is certainly one way to promote positive feelings, develop relationships and reduce anxiety and depression.
If your community needs a place to gather, move, exercise, play and have fun, see how we can partner with you to bring your perfect place to life. Browse some inspiring spaces for exercise, play and gathering for all members of the family (yes, dogs too, after all, they are great companions!).
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