The importance of movement for the mind

As Mental Health Awareness Week continues, we are highlighting how movement can benefit one’s mental health with the help of England Deaf Women’s Football Captain Claire Stancliffe. Claire shares her views on why movement for the mind is so important and the ways it has benefitted her own wellbeing.

First, we share with you commentary from Alexa Knight, Director at the Mental Health Foundation:

            “Everyone can get the mental health benefits of moving but we know that there are many things that can stop us from getting active. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we want people to understand how physical movement affects our mental health and help people find moments for movements in their daily routines. Going for a walk in your neighbourhood, putting on your favourite music and dancing around the living room, chair exercises when you’re watching television- it all counts!

“We know it can be particularly challenging for some groups of people to be active enough during the day. For example, people who are living with long term health conditions or a disability, people who are raising children, and people who are experiencing financial strain. Through Mental Health Awareness Week, we will also be focusing on mental health inequalities, especially barriers to activity. We are determined to address these issues and move closer to our vision of good mental health for all”.

Here is what Claire Stancliffe had to say regarding the importance of movement for the mind:

Why is Mental Health Awareness Week so important to highlight?

It’s so important to continue raising awareness of mental health. We all have it and I am finding people are becoming a lot more aware of their own mental health and starting to be more open. However, there is still a long way to go certainly with educating and in particular I feel access to mental health support/services for deaf people is still incredibly hard. SignHealth are doing fantastic work to bridge the gap but if you don’t know about them, receiving support directly via GPs is difficult due to lack of accessibility.

How has movement benefitted your mental health?

Being active has huge benefits to my mental health. It makes me feel happier and healthier. That’s one of the reasons I love playing football. Football has always been my release from the difficulties of everyday life especially with being deaf. Recently I have been unable to play due to injury. I became bed bound overnight and unable to move without crutches. The sudden change from being highly active everyday to not being able to do anything had an impact on my mood. I am grateful to now be more mobile and unfortunately I still cannot walk normally so I am making the most of just simply being able to get around more easily which has boosted my mood and also my focus/concentration throughout the day.

  1. What things do you do to benefit your mental well-being?

As mentioned before, football was the main thing. At present, I ensure I go for a daily walk if I am able to and spend time with people who mean the most to me. I check in with my friends every so often too. Another thing I try to do is spend a lot of time away from my mobile and tablets. This generation seem to be glued to their phones and constantly scrolling which isn’t good for one’s mental health. From seeing photoshopped images and online abuse, it is very easy to start questioning yourself and feeling negative. So removing myself from seeing things like this, really helps my mood and also my focus/concentration throughout the day.

Here at Signature we would like to thank both Alexa and Claire for their insightful words on the importance of movement for the mind. Indeed, mental health is important this week, but also for every other day of the year. Make sure to make time for yourself to get moving. 

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