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“Move more for mental health” call in Mental Health Awareness Week

Senior local doctors are encouraging residents quite literally to take steps to improve their wellbeing during Mental Health Awareness Week (13-19 May), to match the theme for this year’s campaign: “Moving more for our mental health’.

New research for the Mental Health Foundation reveals that 36% of adults find it a challenge to make time for physical activity, despite the well-established links between physical activity and mental health.

People in Luton who need a little inspiration to get more active can drop by at a health awareness day on Thursday 16 May (10:00am to 3:30pm) at The Mall, which is being provided by Total Wellbeing Luton.

For those who prefer to join a group, there is a regular programme of Wellbeing Walks throughout Bedford Borough and Central Bedfordshire, organised by Bedfordshire Rural Communities Charity.  Walking football has become a popular pastime for older residents in Bedfordshire and Luton, and in Milton Keynes.  However, with the weather improving as we move into the summer, it’s just as beneficial to spend some time outside enjoying your surroundings in a park or a local beauty spot.

Dr Ian Reckless, chief medical officer at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“One of the most important things we can do to help protect our mental health is regular movement.  Looking after ourselves physically can also help prevent problems with our mental health.

“Movement is a great way to enhance our wellbeing.  Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking can boost our mood and increase our mental alertness and energy.  Getting out and about – in fact, any sort of movement – can help us feel better about our bodies and improve self-esteem.  It can also help reduce stress and anxiety, and help us to sleep better.

“Most of all, you don’t need any special equipment to march on the spot while you wait for the kettle to boil, get off the bus a stop early and walk home, or do some stretches while you’re picking the children up from school.”

If you are experiencing challenges in your mental health, our NHS wellbeing services provide a range of free and confidential talking therapies and specialist support to help you feel better.  Speak to your GP surgery or you can refer yourself to your local service:


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