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Explore Mental Health Awareness Week

Embracing Movement Beyond the Gym in Queen’s Park

by Councillor Shifaa Ali

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (May 13-19, 2024) is themed “Movement: Moving more for our mental health. ” This theme reminds us that movement is about more than just physical fitness; it’s about nurturing our mental well-being. This year’s theme encourages us to integrate movement into our lives in meaningful ways, especially in diverse communities like Queen’s Park, where there is a significant gap in life expectancy – an average gap of 4.4 years for males and 6.3 years for females – compared to other areas of Westminster. We also know that people of Global South Heritage are 2-4 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes mellitus. At the same time, vulnerable populations such as rough sleepers and asylum seekers often face higher health needs and disease prevalence.

Why Movement Matters?

Movement is a holistic approach to health that benefits both the body and mind.

Reducing Anxiety and Depression: Engaging in movement releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, helping to reduce stress and improve mental health. Studies show that regular physical activity can reduce levels of anxiety and depression by up to 30%.

Preventing Physical Illnesses: Regular movement can help prevent chronic diseases by up to 35% (2), supporting better mental health as physical health concerns can cause increased anxiety and stress and affect overall well-being.

Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem: Movement can improve body image and self-esteem, contributing to a healthier state of mind. Research has shown that a brisk 10-minute walk can increase mental alertness, energy, and positive mood.

 

 

Source citation:

Reducing Anxiety and Depression: Mental Health UK

Preventing Physical Illnesses: Mental Health Foundation

Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem: Mental Health Foundation

Walk More: American Heart Association

 


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