Everyone has mental health!
Sport & Physical Activity Benefits Mental Health
There is now clear evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of cognitive decline in adults and older adults with a 20–30% risk reduction in developing dementia for adults participating in daily physical activity.
Physical activity also seems to reduce the likelihood of experiencing cognitive decline in people who do not have dementia.
The benefits of sport and physical activity on our mental health are endless: improved mood, decreased chance of depression and anxiety, and a better and more balanced lifestyle
The government’s Sporting FutureOpen in a new window strategy has mental wellbeing at its heart. And we’re already investing in projects across the country – from small community programmes to regional and national pilots.
So far we’ve invested £8,160,436 of government and National Lottery funding.
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 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 and a link to the study, go to 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.
- Better self-esteem – Physical activity has a big impact of our self-esteem – that’s how we feel about ourselves and our perceived self-worth. This is a key indicator of mental wellbeing. Those 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 in conjunction with other treatments. It is effective at both preventing onset of depression and in terms of managing symptoms.