Be Active, Be Healthy, Be Well - a guide for young people

May 11, 2023

Mental Health Awareness Week, now in its 23rd year, runs from 15-21 May and is hosted by the charity, Mental Health Foundation.

This year, the theme is ‘anxiety’. Across the UK, people are encouraged to get involved by sharing their experience of anxiety and the things that can help with the hashtag #ToHelpMyAnxiety. As part of the campaign, the Mental Health Foundation will be publishing guidance on how we can manage and improve feelings of anxiety and prevent them from developing into a more serious mental health problem.

How physical activity helps mental health

There are various ways that physical activity helps mental health, including:

Improved mood 

Studies show that physical activity has a positive impact on our mood. One study asked people to rate their mood after a period of exercise (i.e. walking or gardening) and after inactivity (i.e. reading a book). Researchers found that people felt more awake, calmer and more content after physical activity. 

Reduced stress

Being regularly active is shown to have a beneficial impact on alleviating stress. It can help manage stressful lifestyles and can help us make better decisions when under pressure. 

Research on working adults shows that active people tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are less active.

Increased self-esteem 

Physical activity has a big impact on our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. 

This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. People with improved self-esteem can cope better with stress and improves relationships with others.

Depression and anxiety 

Exercise has been described as a “wonder drug” in preventing and managing mental health. Many GPs now prescribe physical activity for depression, either on its own or together with other treatments. 

It’s effective at both preventing onset of depression and managing symptoms.

Find out more on the Sport England Website here  Mental health | Sport England

Active Cumbria – proud to partner with Every Life Matters.

Alongside Every Life Matters, we have created the ‘Be Active, Be Healthy, Be Well – A Guide for Young People’ booklet to be distributed as part of their Secondary School Programme. A resource to highlight the positive impact and influence that physical activity can have on mental health and wellbeing. It offers advice, guidance and a number of interactive opportunities to support young people to get, and stay active throughout their time at Secondary School! The resource can be accessed here

As well as talking to your GP you can find lots of advice and support on the  Mental Health Foundation website.

To find physical activities taking place near you visit the Activity Finder on our website here

Home - Active Cumbria