Mental Health Awareness Week - Find Your Moment For Movement

May 2, 2024

Movement is important for our mental health. But so many of us struggle to move enough. We know there are many different reasons for this, so this Mental Health Awareness Week (13 – 19 May 2024) we’re supporting the Mental Health Foundation campaign to help people to find moments for movement in their daily routines. Going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, chair exercises when you’re watching television – it all counts!

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.

For more information about the study, please see the Mental Health Foundation website.

  • 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.

Ways to get involved!. 

We’ve selected just a few of the many tips, ideas and resources to help you find your #MomentForMovement.

Getting started!

If you are new to getting active it can feel a bit daunting, Sport England have recently updated the Get Moving pages of their website to provide top tips to help you get started and feel the physical and mental benefits that even small increases in movement can bring.

For over 60 years, Mind has worked to improve the lives of people with mental health problems.  What activities are best for mental health? Find out more 

There is no single type of activity that is the best for mental health. Physical activity works best when you can do it often, and consistently. You’re more likely to be able to do this if you pick an activity that feels comfortable and enjoyable.

Different activities will suit different people. Try to focus on what makes you feel good, rather than what other people say you should do.

Everyone can get the mental health benefits of moving more, it’s all about finding what works for you.  

If you are new to movement and exercise you may find the Activity Finder on our website a good place to start – there are lots to choose from and include opportunities for people with disabilities.    

When life’s busy, it can be tricky finding time for wellbeing-boosting activities.  But finding moments for movement might be easier than you think. The Mental Health Foundation suggests we use the time you spend waiting to move more?

  • When waiting for the kettle to boil;
  • for the kids to come out of school;
  • or for a bus to arrive. These moments will add up! 

Once you’re feeling more confident check out the various activities at home available on our website.

Go for a walk! Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve physical and mental health and stay connected to our community, helping us feel less lonely and isolated and it’s completely free!

Check out these top tips to help you make walking your #MomentsforMovement this Mental Health Awareness Week. Find out more

Why not find your local Ramblers Wellbeing Walk – Short group walks which make it easier to start walking and stay active. All walks are led by trained Walk Leaders across the County and provide a great opportunity not only to improve your health through regular walking but also to explore your local area whilst meeting new people. Walks aim to be suitable for people of all ages and abilities and our leaders will ensure that you walk at a pace that you find comfortable. 

Start building small amounts of activity into your day with Five in Five, a five minute mini-workout designed for people living with long term health conditions.

Download the Five in Five booklet to find seven different mini-workouts. Each one includes five movements which you can do seated or standing for one minute each, to build a five minute workout.

Five in Five is part of the We Are Undefeatable movement.

Gardening can help you stay healthy, both mentally and physically. Digging, planting and watering can help take your mind off the daily stresses of life. 

Why not combine your movement through gardening with a volunteering role?

The Cumbria CVS volunteering portal lists volunteering gardening opportunities near you

Schools, children and young people.

Get your pupils moving more for mental health.

Mental Health Foundation have developed a lesson plan to support children and young people to better protect and nurture their mental health.

The schools pack is full of discussion ideas, activities and lesson plans to get you started on your movement journey and better protect the mental health of pupils and schools staff. Why not combine the lesson plan with a Wear it Green Day event to bring the whole school together to focus on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Week.

The lesson plan is proudly supported by the Harry Kane Foundation.

Find out more and download the lesson plan 

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 – Live Lesson: Monday 13 May, 11:00

Paralympian Ade Adepitan and Blue Peter’s Shini Muthukrishnan are choreographing a new BBC Moodboosters routine, and they want your pupils to get involved.

As they shoot their video in a green-screen studio, the presenters will be trying out a series of moves to boost wellbeing and encouraging children to join in.

Wellbeing expert Dr Radha Modgil will be explaining the links between physical and mental health and Olympic & European Gold Medallist Sam Quek will be sharing her top tips for easy ways children can build activity into their day.

England captain Harry Kane will also be making a guest appearance, sharing his advice on how to express our feelings.

More information here 

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

However you choose to move this Mental Health Awareness Week remember all movement is good – more is better! 

Building movement into our working day, can have a positive impact on productivity and focus. 

Taking a half hour break for a change of scenery or activity can boost energy levels and help to focus the mind.

Moving more at work can help us:

–      Explore the link between mental and physical wellbeing

–      Encourage us to connect with one another

–      Start new, healthy habits

Better work relationships provide a foundation that may mean it’s easier to spot the signs when someone’s struggling with their mental health

And in turn, help people feel comfortable in coming forward to speak to someone at work if they need to.

You might also be interested in …..

Listen!  A podcast from Countrystride with Andy Airey – one of ‘3 Dads Walking’.  This includes a frank discussion about suicide, about the need to talk with young people and about healing though walking. The '3 Dads Walking' campaign with Andy and two other suicide-bereaved fathers who walked 324 miles in memory of their daughters – and captured the attention of millions around the world.

Listen here

Lived experiences.  Mind share some blogs from people with lived experiences of mental health, who've been supported by physical activity.


Being able to boost our mental health through movement shouldn’t be a luxury. Yet new research from the Mental Health Foundation shows that too many people are facing barriers to moving for their mental health due to financial strain and inequality.

Find out more about this research

(available from 13 May 2024) 

If you deliver physical activity sessions, you’re not expected to be a mental health expert. But you have a duty of care to support the people in your sessions. And often, small, everyday actions can make a big difference.

Spot. Support. Signpost aims to help anyone, from volunteers to senior leaders, to:

  • Spot the signs someone may be struggling
  • Support them, if you feel able to
  • Signpost them to help and services