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Looking for a ‘miracle cure’? Get in the mood for exercise

It’s no secret exercise isn’t just good for the body – it can be miraculous for the mind too.

The NHS goes as far as describing exercise as a ‘miracle cure’, adding ‘it’s easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some’.

And they say there’s strong scientific evidence it can help us lead a healthier and happier life.

Young or old, good mental health is essential for our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing.

It affects how we feel about ourselves, how we deal with the ups and downs of life and cope with stress and make decisions on a daily basis.

There’s no denying mental health is a problem.

Conditions such as anxiety and depression affect one in four adults in the UK according to the mental health charity Mind.

So how can exercise help?

Research shows that physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing the risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Physical activity releases feel-good hormones which can help to boost our mood.

And the NHS says scientists believe it also improves our wellbeing because it instils a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge.

At Active Tameside we thrive on the aim of helping everyone to ‘live their best life’ and have long understood and embraced the positive benefits exercise can bring to our wellbeing.

Whether it’s setting personal goals in the gym or pool or getting a bunch of mates together for a game of five-aside or netball, our facilities provide the perfect opportunity to get your recommended dose of physical activity.

From joining one of our many exercise classes to increase confidence and social interaction to our weekly activity sessions for the older generations, there’s something for everyone to get involved in regardless of ability.

And don’t forget our mind and body sessions such as Tai Chi and Yoga and our spas at Active Ashton, Copley and Hyde centres – relaxation and me-time is equally important to mental wellbeing.

With a huge spotlight on young people’s mental health, many of us as parents and carers are concerned about the negative impact the pressures of today’s modern-day world can have our children.

A recent Mind survey revealed three in five young people aged between 11 and 19 have experienced a mental health problem or are close to someone who has.

From the NHS to the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the charity Young Minds, all stress the importance of exercise in young people as a distraction from the demands they face from everything from school or college to friendships and social media.

Learning a new sport or activity is a great way to discover something you love or are good at.

Our Active Holiday Camps – held every school holiday, except Christmas, for 6-13 years and Little Camps for 3-6 years – are the perfect opportunity for kids to try something different or hone their skills with a range of multi-sports, basketball and cycling.

They’re brilliant for building confidence, self-esteem, making new, non-school friends and, of course, tearing them away from their phones and gaming stations.

They can also chill and get creative in the arts and crafts sessions.

Gymnastics Holiday Camps are fantastic for physical exercise and boosting confidence and are open to 5-16-year olds.

On a health level exercise helps to lower the risk of developing long-term, chronic conditions, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers.

The NHS recommends 5-18-year olds should do:

• At least 60 minutes of physical activity a day and this is linked to better health, stronger bones and muscles and higher levels of self-esteem.
• Activities should involve exercises for strong muscles and bones, for example playing on playground equipment, skipping and sports such as gymnastics or tennis.
The NHS guideline for adults aged 19 to 64 – and those aged 65 and over who are generally fit and have no health conditions that limit their mobility – is:
• At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous every week.
• Strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscles in the legs, hips, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms.

Moderate activity includes walking, aqua aerobics, riding a bike and tennis.

Vigorous activity includes jogging or running, aerobics, fast swimming and football.

If you’d like to find out more about how exercise helps your body and mind, head to the NHS website.

You can find help and more information about young people’s mental health on the Young Minds website.

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