Move More for Your Mind

Move More for Your Mind

Move More for Your Mind

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 focuses on a powerful yet often overlooked strategy for emotional well-being – movement. Numerous studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity contributes substantially to improved mental health. Engaging in exercise releases endorphins, often referred to as feel-good hormones, which act as natural stress relievers. Moreover, regular movement helps regulate other neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which are pivotal in managing mood and anxiety levels.

One comfortable step at a time

According to the World Health Organization, physical activity can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, providing a clear, science-backed argument for the inclusion of exercise in daily routines as a non-pharmacological intervention for mental health.

This holds particular significance for healthcare professionals.  Working long shifts filled with physical demands and emotional intensity can take a toll on mental health.

Despite the known benefits, many people struggle to incorporate consistent physical activity into their daily lives. Psychological barriers, such as a lack of motivation often deter people from starting or maintaining a regular exercise regime. On the physical front, discomfort and pain can be significant obstacles, particularly if inappropriate footwear is used. Uncomfortable shoes can lead to foot pain, blisters, and even long-term injuries, all of which can demotivate individuals from engaging in physical activity.

Comfortable, well-fitting footwear is foundational in promoting regular body movement. Proper shoes can make the difference between a painful exercise experience and a comfortable one. For instance, the right type of footwear minimises the impact on the joints during any physical activity, reduces the risk of injuries, and can alleviate pre-existing conditions such as back pain or plantar fasciitis. By investing in quality shoes, people are more likely to engage in exercise regularly and for longer durations, thereby reaping greater mental health benefits.

Integrating more physical activity into one’s daily routine does not necessarily require gym memberships or major time commitments.

Starting with small, achievable goals, such as a 10-minute walk after lunch can significantly increase motivation. However, when it comes to incorporating movement into your workday, the importance of comfortable shoes cannot be overstated.  Imagine trying to walk up and down stairs with ill-fitting or unsupportive shoes. Not only will it be uncomfortable, but it can also lead to pain and even injuries, further hindering your ability to move and negatively impacting your mental state.

Shoes with good arch support and cushioning minimise stress on your feet, ankles, and knees. This reduces fatigue and allowing for movement throughout the entire shift without discomfort.

Proper footwear enhances stability and traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls. This not only minimises the risk of physical injuries but also alleviates the anxiety associated with potential accidents.

Knowing your shoes provide the support you need can boost confidence when moving around the workplace. This frees up mental space, allowing you to focus on your tasks and interact with patients effectively.

This year’s Mental Health Week theme, "Move More," invites us to consider how small changes in our daily routine can lead to significant improvements in our mental health. One of the simplest yet most effective changes we can make is to ensure we wear comfortable, supportive shoes that encourage rather than inhibit movement. By addressing barriers to physical activity and equipping ourselves with the right tools and attitudes, we can enhance our mental well-being through the power of movement. Let's step into better mental health together, one comfortable shoe at a time.