Keys to Mental Resilience #4: Being Active

being active for mental resilience

In previous blogs I considered three important spokes to the wheel of mental resilience: the importance of Human Connection, relaxation and assertiveness.

This week I am going to consider how our physical bodies can make our minds more resilient to life’s stressors.

Humans Need Activity

Being active is great for your physical health and fitness, and evidence shows that it can also improve your mental well-being. Many people think that the mind and body are separate, but what you do with your body can have a powerful effect on your mental well-being.

Mental well-being means feeling good, both about yourself and about the world around you. It means being able to get on with life in the way that you want.

Evidence shows that there is a link between being physically active and having good mental well-being. That makes being active one of the five evidence-based steps we can all take to improve our mental well-being, as noted in this paper by Faulkner and McDevitt.

Exercise Means Many Things

When we think of exercise, its easy to get intimidated. But being active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the gym, if that doesn’t appeal to you. Find physical activities that you enjoy and think about how to fit more of them into your daily life.

Consider the following ways to incorporate more activity into your life.

Eight Motivational Methods and Training Tips

  1. Try a new exercise: Most people do the same workout, the same run, the same swim. Variety is important to keep you motivated and ensure that you continue to feel the health benefits of moderate physical activity.
  2. Stay off the scales: Your weight fluctuates a few pounds every day so constant monitoring is potentially demoralising and misleading. Once per week is adequate.
  3. Consider entering a realistic and fun event: Without direction to your fitness programme, you can get lost. By fixing a date in your diary, you know just where you are heading and the work required. Choose your challenge and build a training plan to help you reach it.
  4. Do an outdoor activity at least twice per week: It’s as simple as it says.
  5. Be active daily: Over a week, activity should add up to at least 150 minutes (2½ hours) of moderately intense activity in stretches of 10 minutes or more. One way to approach this is to do 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week.

Alternatively, comparable benefits can be achieved with 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity spread across the week, or combinations of moderate and vigorous intense activity, according to the Department of Health.

Adults should also undertake physical activity to improve muscle strength on at least two days a week. All adults should minimise the amount of time spent being sedentary (sitting) for extended periods.

  1. Get an activity partner: Exercising with someone else whether it is a trainer or a friend has been proven to be more successful in keeping people motivated and enhancing social interaction and fun.
  2. Use your journey to work as an exercise session (assuming it isn’t too far): Walk, run or cycle the distance to work to maximise your time exercising outdoors, which is proven to be the best environment for exercise, and links to positive emotional health and well-being.
  3. Keep an exercise diary: Plan your exercise programme in advance and then write down what you have done. This will show you how far you’ve come and how well you’ve done!

About the author(s)

Walter-Brennan
Walter Brennen

Walter Brennen is a world-renowned mediator and training specialist with experience in risk restraint monitoring and liberty protection safeguards.

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