In my clinical practice and in my personal life, I wholeheartedly endorse movement for the mind. During my time as a student mental health nurse, I took part in a training by Public Health England encouraging health professionals to advise physical activity to patients. A doctor once told me that
"If exercise was a pill, everyone would be taking it."
Although it can be a hard conversation to have, I agree that physical activity can be valuable for a healthy lifestyle.
As i've refined my own practice, I increasingly find myself referring to physical activity as
m o v e m e n t
and this feels more achievable somehow.
No matter an individuals ability or motivation, movement can take on many diverse forms. Walking, running, yoga, playing with your kids, dancing around the kitchen with a morning brew, chasing your dog, lifting weights or a kick about in the park.
Our bodies were built to move.
By moving your body you are not only creating physiological reaction of moving blood around your body and using up energy but also contributing to the release of chemicals in the brain such as endorphins and dopamine (AKA the happy chemicals).
The mind is given a great foundation for reaping the benefits.
By choosing movement, you are also choosing self-care. You are investing in yourself and your health. You are committing to looking after yourself, adding to your self-worth. You are choosing happiness. You are being productive. You are focusing your attention into challenges, pushing yourself and the opportunity to feel a sense of accomplishment.
You are making yourself a better, balanced person.
A sedentary lifestyle carries with it many well-known negative effects so making movement a habit in your daily life can be a game changer.
These small daily choices to move contribute to a much bigger picture of health and wellness.
There is no prescriptive way of moving, just do what you can, when you can and how you can.
Be mindful in your movement and move for your mind.