Health and Wellbeing
Wellbeing is made up of many different things. It varies from person to person and can change day to day. Every individual is unique in their own right. What you need to do in order to increase or maintain your wellbeing may well be different from your friends or family. There are many definitions of physical and mental wellbeing, but they all contain the same message – it is important to be as healthy as you can be, to maintain or increase your physical activity, to have social connections, to feel happy and content and be truly valued for who you are.
According to the charity Mind, positive mental wellbeing means having strong self-esteem, good relationships, feeling engaged with the world around us and the ability to cope with the ups and downs of life. It is well known that physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups, thanks to all those endorphins. Research suggests that physical activity can boost your self-esteem, lift your mood; improve sleep quality and energy levels; as well as reducing the risk of developing stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the NHS, taking regular exercise can also reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer, by up to 50%, as well as lowering your risk of early death. Current NHS guidelines recommend that to stay healthy, adults should try to be active every day and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over the course of every week, whether that’s walking, cycling, running or another sport.
Advances in technology mean that nowadays we move around less and burn off less energy. According to research, many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down – at work, on transport or in their leisure time. Those over the age of 65 are the most sedentary age group, spending an average of 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down.
A “silent killer” is how the Department of Health describes inactivity, with evidence suggesting that sitting or lying down for long periods is detrimental to your general health. So not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you spend sitting down.