It’s widely accepted that staying physically active is beneficial for our minds and bodies, with 67% of people saying they feel in a better mood after being physically active. Sometimes finding the motivation to move can feel challenging, especially for those living with a long term health condition (LTHC). With new research showing that not moving as much as they would like causes 45% of those with a LTHC to feel low, compared to 27% in those living without a condition, We Are Undefeatable has partnered with Gok Wan, who lives with asthma, to create easy to follow exercise videos based on various moods and abilities, to help boost moods across the country.
The advice comes after research of 3,000 adults, including 1,000 who have a LTHC, found that 32% of all people surveyed felt their mood was lower if they don’t move or exercise as much as they usually would, with mental wellbeing the biggest factor for 18% when choosing a physical activity. Of those with a LTHC surveyed, 38% of people – who do some form of physical activity – believe it helps their physical wellbeing, with nearly a quarter (23%) saying their mental wellbeing is the biggest factor for them doing physical activity. In line with the research to find out the various moods that people across the UK struggle with, TV personality and GP Dr Zoe Williams has recommended movements to help boost your mood:
- Low energy: Pilates, yoga or Tai Chi are considered great ways to boost energy, as they help with getting your blood flow going.
- Feeling anxious: aerobic activities – such as dancing and brisk walking– may relieve anxiety, as chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine are released which trigger positive feelings.
- Stressed: If you’re feeling stressed, activities like swimming may help calm you down, according to Zoe. This is because swimming, like all exercise, releases cortisol which can help us manage stress. The methodical nature of swimming also makes it a great exercise to do when feeling stressed as it gives you something to focus your mind, which may help to reduce your stress levels.
- Unmotivated or experiencing a mental block: getting outside, by walking to and from the shops or doing some gardening, could make a difference – with fresh air intake increasing oxygen in the lungs and promoting optimal brain function.
- Looking to unwind: If it gets to the end of the day and you haven’t moved as much as you’d have liked to, some simple stretches and yoga movements before bed could help you unwind and rest.
Dr Zoe Williams, said: “It can be frustrating if we do not move our bodies around for a long period of time. But, even the smallest of movements such as walking, or stretches can make you feel happier and healthier. Moving our bodies in any shape or form each day can uplift our moods and help increase our mobility and mental wellbeing.”
The study also found that 42% of adults surveyed without a health condition are active on more than five days a week – for around 43 minutes at a time. But for those with a long-term health condition surveyed, this drops to 25%, for 35 minutes at a time. Some of the most popular activities of all the people surveyed include walking (53%), team sport activities (20%) and swimming (18%).
It also emerged 51% of adults exercise on their own, with 45% of this group choosing to do so because they want to be alone with their thoughts, whilst 22% worry they will be judged by others and 20% fear they won’t be ‘fit enough’ to join in. And of those with a health condition who like to be active solo, 28% say their condition makes them feel self-conscious.
With 52% of those polled who are active doing their exercise at home, We Are Undefeatable has created three exercise videos tailored to different moods. Recruiting much loved stylist Gok Wan MBE– who lives with asthma – the easy to follow online videos are available on the We Are Undefeatable website, as part of their Move To Your Mood campaign.
The videos show 5 movements you can do depending on whether you’re: Needing a Boost, Feeling Relaxed or Feeling Energised. Led by Clinical Exercise Specialist Sandra Shaw, the videos also feature three people living with various long-term health conditions, with adaptations of the moves included to suit those with mobility limitations.
Michelle Roberts, Physical activity and health programme lead from the Richmond Group of Charities behind We Are Undefeatable, said: “It’s so great to see from the research that the majority of people, including those living with an illness or health condition, can get an uplifting boost from physical activity, no matter how big or small it is. At We Are Undefeatable, we want to encourage everyone to find the movements that match their mood and provide a source of inspiration for those that are unsure on how to start.”
DR ZOE WILLIAMS EXPERT TIPS TO HELP IMPROVE YOUR MOOD THROUGH EXERCISE:
- However you’re feeling on any given day there’s a movement you can do to suit your energy levels and boost your mood. The short, five minute ‘Move To Your Mood’ videos, created by We Are Undefeatable, are a great place to start and over time could allow you to build up the time you spend being physically active. Aiming to do some physical activity every day- however you wish to move – can help us feel happier and healthier.
- When you wake up feeling energised a brisk walk is a great way to get your body moving – for days that start slower a stroll can work to get your body moving and clear your mind. Walking is a great low impact cardio exercise which allows you to improve your fitness levels whilst being gentle on your joints.
- If you’re feeling stressed, you could try swimming for a calm and focused activity which is great for your body and mind. The swimming motion can also be done sitting on your sofa or at your desk – for an easy way to incorporate some movement into your day when you’re unable to get to a pool. Swimming, like all exercise, releases cortisol which can help us manage stress. The methodical nature of swimming also makes it a great exercise to do when feeling stressed as it gives you something to focus your mind, which may help to reduce your stress levels.
- If you’re feeling worried or anxious, aerobic activities such as dancing may be a great way to relieve tension and get your heart rate up in a good way. Physical activity releases endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline which trigger positive feelings in your brain that can make you feel less stressed and anxious and also give you feelings of pleasure and happiness. Dancing can provide relief from stress and tension and has been shown to reduce levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
- When you’re having a mental block or feel unmotivated – getting some fresh air and moving your body outside is a great way to clear your mind . This outdoor movement could be an everyday activity such as carrying shopping back from the shop, going on a dog walk or even doing some gardening. Moving your body makes the heart beat faster, which is great because it provides fresh oxygenated blood to all of your organs, including your brain, which helps you feel energized and improves your ability and promotes optimal function, helping you to think, focus and concentrate better.
- If you get to the end of the day and realise you haven’t moved as much as you could have, you could do some simple stretches and yoga moves before bed to help you unwind and rest easily. There’s many benefits to stretching before bed and relaxing your muscles, including reducing stiffness and discomfort which may improve your sleep
TOP PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES PEOPLE DO ON A REGULAR BASIS (ONCE A WEEK):
- Cleaning i.e. vacuuming, dusting
- Team sports i.e. football, tennis etc.
- Sit to stand
- 32% of people feel their mood is lower if they don’t move or exercise as much as they usually would.
- 29% of all adults who do some form of activity feel ‘calmer’ afterwards.
- 69% of people surveyed feel guilty when they don’t move around as much as usual – rising to 76% of those who have a long-term health condition.
- A third of people polled feel disappointed if they get to the end of the day and haven’t done as much exercise as they’d hoped for, while 18% feel uncomfortable with stiffness and pain due to lack of movement.
- 58% feel they are already doing as much physical activity as they can, with this increasing to 75% of those with a health condition.
- More than four in 10 (42%) of those surveyed use tins of food as weights, while 18% use the door frame for their activity.
Research commissioned by We Are Undefeatable for the Move to Your Mood Campaign, carried out by One Poll using an online sample of 3,000 UK adults including 1,000 people living with a long-term health condition.
About We Are Undefeatable
We Are Undefeatable is a national campaign and movement to support and inspire people with long-term health conditions to be active. Featuring the real-life experiences of people with long-term health conditions, We Are Undefeatable aims to support people to build physical activity into their lives, in a way that works for them.
The campaign is led by 15 of the major health and social care charities and is backed by expertise, insight and significant National Lottery funding from Sport England, the organisation behind the award-winning This Girl Can campaign.
The charities are: Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Asthma & Lung UK, Breast Cancer Now, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, Diabetes UK, Macmillan Cancer Support, Mind, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK, Rethink Mental Illness, Royal Voluntary Service, Stroke Association and Versus Arthritis.
We Are Undefeatable gives thanks to everyone who has played The National Lottery to make this campaign possible.