Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Reading's online course, Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 13 seconds So we talk about this idea of physical activity, and that can be a whole range of different things, not just exercise. Exercise is great, but physical activity is anything that kind of gets us up and moving and active. Things like walking, housework, getting out of the house with the dog. Any of these things can help us to be active. Exercising is really good for lots of different reasons. There’s a whole range of really well-known health benefits associated with exercise. But also, we know that the hormones that are going through our body whilst we exercise, they can make us feel quite good. So actually, our mood can be boosted as a result of going out and doing those activities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 49 seconds There’s also a very nice social component to exercise. So some things that we might go out and do, we do with other people. So it might be that we go to clubs with friends or we go out for a walk with our family. Exercise can also give us a really good sense of achievement that we’ve done something really good for ourselves and really productive. And that can also help us to feel better. The time at which you might start to notice that something’s really changing for your young person is if they’re withdrawing from lots of activities.

Skip to 1 minute and 15 seconds So if you notice they are pulling out of lots of things they used to enjoy, aren’t doing some things at home perhaps that they used to enjoy as well. That might be an indication that there’s something more going on and not just normal teenage development. It’s also really important their family are modelling healthy behaviours. That they themselves are also demonstrating the importance of physical activities.

The benefits of physical activity

We now move on to our third topic of this week- physical activities. In this video, Dr Faith Orchard discusses the importance of engaging in a range of enjoyable activities/hobbies.

These activities often include exercise or physical activity. Here are some examples of the impact exercise can have on an individual’s wellbeing:

  • Help build and maintain bones, muscles, joints
  • Control weight, build lean muscle and reduce fat
  • Improve skin
  • Prevent high blood pressure
  • Reduce stress
  • Improve mood
  • Think better and clearer
  • Boosts immune system

The importance of physical activity for mental health and wellbeing is now widely recognised. The advantages are obvious, can be inexpensive, and don’t necessarily require professional help.

Although we often think of sports such as football or going to the gym when we think of exercise, many forms of physical activity can be helpful. Here are just a few examples:

A collage of photos. Starting from top left going clockwise: someone cleaning windows, walking a dog, someone mowing the lawn and someone cycling

What exercise or physical activity do you do or would like to get involved in? Share your ideas in the comments below. Take the time to read and respond to posts by other learners or ‘Like’ those posts that you think make a good point.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Understanding Depression and Low Mood in Young People

University of Reading