Mental Health in motion
Physical activity can promote positive mental health and help in the prevention of some mental health problems. Mental health problems are disturbances in thoughts and emotions that make it difficult to cope with the challenges of everyday life. Mental disorders (or mental illnesses) are more severe. They involve alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour that are associated with significant distress and impaired functioning. Positive mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It is our individual capacity to feel, think and act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It involves creating a balance in all aspects of our lives: physical, mental / emotional, social, and spiritual. Positive mental health helps us to cope with mental and physical illnesses if they do develop.
“Physical activity can be considered both for its preventive and its therapeutic effects on mental illness, and also for its impact on mental health in the general population. Also, the psychological benefits of physical activity are crucial determinants of people’s motivation to be physically active…”
(Chief Medical Officer of England, 2004)
Physical Activity and Mental Health:
- Physical activity has been demonstrated to reduce symptoms of depression and is clearly associated with decreased risk of developing clinical depression. (1)
- Physical activity is an effective stress remedy, reducing muscle tension and assisting with controlled breathing—even short burst of activity are helpful. (2)
- Physical activity increases the release of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that affect our mood and make us feel happier. (3)
- Regular physical activity is associated with improved cognitive functioning and reduced risk of dementia in older adults. (4)
- Physical activity improves self-confidence and self-esteem. (5)
- Physical activity makes people feel better about themselves, happier and more satisfied with life. (1)
- Physical activity outside during daylight is the behaviour most closely related to sleep quality. (1)
- One in four Manitobans will experience a mental illness at some point in their lives. (6)
- About 25% of Canadians will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime. (7)
- 30% of Canadian adults will have at least one panic attack in their life. (7)
- Major depression affects up to 10% of men and 25% of women. (8)
- 3% of Canadians live with severe and persistent mental illness. (8)
- One in five children age 9 to 17 has a diagnosable mental disorder. (9)
- One in eight Canadians will be hospitalized for a mental health problem. Mental illness is the second leading cause of hospital admissions in Canada. (8)
- Mental health problems are associated with increased health costs, reduced productivity in schools, workplaces and homes, and with missed life opportunities.
- The economic burden of mental health problems in Canada is large—direct health care costs are over $5 billion annually. (5)
- The human burden of mental health problems is inestimable—impaired functioning; restricted or lack of ability to perform certain tasks; and loss of valued roles such as parent, partner, employee.
- Discrimination against persons with mental illness causes great disadvantages and contributes to the human and economic burdens.
For more information visit: http://www.winnipeg.cmha.ca/