The benefits of physical activity on mental health in the workplace
The Government's Department of Health advises that one in four of us will experience mental ill health at some point in our lives.
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study found that, for the first time, stress is the major cause of long-term absence in manual and non-manual workers.
Promoting positive mental health in the workplace can therefore be hugely beneficial. Staff with good mental health are more likely to perform well, have good attendance levels and be engaged in their work.
Additionally, taking steps to better support the mental health of staff can help to reduce the severity, duration and quantity of mental ill health in the workplace.
The mental health benefits of physical activity
Everyone knows that regular exercise is great for your physical health and fitness, but evidence also shows that being physically active is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental wellbeing. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on mood, depression, anxiety and more.
Scientists believe that physical activity can help people with mild depression. Evidence shows that it can also help protect people against anxiety.
Physical activity is thought to cause chemical changes in the brain, which can help to positively change our mood.
Scientists believe that being active can improve wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge.
Promote physical activity in your workplace
Workplace physical activity programmes that foster a happier, healthier and more motivated team, have a positive impact on productivity, increase work attendance, reduce job stress and pave the way for greater employee retention and engagement.
Workplace Virtuathon is a CPD accredited, eight week wellbeing education programme delivered via mobile app with daily guidance and motivation to inspire confidence that culminates in a fun, 'personal' physical activity challenge with a Virtuathon medal as an achievement reward.
It's designed to maximise employee participation, especially beginners and the less active, and encourage positive lifestyle choices that help reduce stress and increase motivation in the workplace.
Importantly, employees don’t need to be fitness fanatics to take part in this programme! This definitely isn’t about enrolling at a gym or spending endless hours training, it’s about supporting employees to kick-start a healthier lifestyle and so is perfect for beginners and the less active who often lack confidence in their own physical ability.
VIRTUATHON SEEN IN
Inspire a healthier, happier and motivated workforce by delivering your own Workplace Virtuathon
Acknowledgements, resources and further reading
Get active for mental wellbeing - Stress, anxiety and depression
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Physical Activity and Mental Health
Physical activity, sport and exercise
Mental Health Foundation
How to look after your mental health using exercise
Mental health in the workplace