Sport in Mind Walk – Benefits on Mental Health and Wellbeing

two female students walking in active wear

As someone graduating this year, from my course BA Psychology and Philosophy, I believe it is extremely important to improve and maintain your mental health and ensure you are looking after both your physical and mental wellbeing. Studying psychology has taught me the importance of taking care of your mental health and ways to do this, as well as struggling with my own mental health my entire life and finding ways to improve it. One of the most effective ways of doing this is taking care of your body, by exercising and keeping healthy, as well as surrounding yourself with nature and the environment. There have been countless studies proving the importance of sunlight, being outside, exercising, keeping active etc. and how these things benefit our physical health as well as our mental health.

Sport in Mind is a mental health charity formed in Reading in 2010, with the aim of improving the lives of people with mental health problems with exercise ad physical activity. Some more in detail information on them can be found at their official website. Sport in Mind also has some information about how sport helps mental health along with a YouTube video on the subject. This includes helping to cope with and relieve daily stress, building confidence, making friends, a natural energy boost, and releasing endorphins to feel happy and to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression – just to name a few. 

Walking and keeping in touch with nature is a fantastic way to keep active, get yourself moving, and it is completely free – perfect for all University students. As the weather will become warmer and more pleasant in Spring and Summer, it creates the perfect opportunity to take the time to go for a walk and see things you haven’t seen before. Walking allows you to get fresh air and move around and can be done even by those who don’t particularly enjoy exercise or physical activity. You can listen to music, take a walk with friends and use it as an opportunity to socialise or find some scenic destinations you haven’t experienced before for a breath of fresh air. For example, you could visit the Reading Abbey Ruins or some beautiful natural trails.  

Walking also improves your cardiovascular fitness, as well as preventing or managing various health conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke etc.). It strengthens your bones and muscles, improves muscle endurance and increases energy levels due to releasing endorphins. This in turn improves your mood, cognition, memory and sleep, which are important and essential for maintaining your physical and mental health. It reduces stress and tension from everyday life, such as pressure from exams or other general stressors, which benefits your mental health and wellbeing. Finally, it keeps you physically fit, by maintaining your weight or losing body fat, in addition to strengthening your immune system. The faster and longer you walk, and the more often you do this, the greater the improvements to your body and system. These benefits to your physical health reflect onto your mental health and confidence and ensure you feel fit and have high energy.

Walking is the perfect way to start getting more active and ensure you are moving around as well as keeping fit and healthy. Being physically healthy and keeping in touch with nature is a simple way to reduce the effects of daily stressors in addition to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Especially with summer exams around the corner, creating breaks by stepping outside and moving will be incredibly helpful to stop thinking about exams for a while and stop staring at your computer or phone. You can also use this as a chance to socialise with friends, or an opportunity to see new sights and areas to get out of your daily routine and try something different. The benefits of walking on both your physical and mental health are incredible, and it is extremely easy to incorporate into your day-to-day life.

Plan out a walking route or find somewhere you would like to visit, for example a nature trail, and try incorporating extra steps into your daily routine. You could ask friends to join you or listen to music and try to forget about day-to-day stressors. If you want to try some more exercises, you can visit the SportsPark at the University to find some exciting activities and opportunities for both socialising and getting in better physical shape.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *