Inspired to Change

Do you move enough for your mental health?



Moving for your Mental Health

We all know that movement is beneficial for our physical health but did you know how important it is for your mental health and wellbeing too? Increasing natural movement throughout our day with simple, natural, day to day activities is vital for our mental health and might not be as difficult, time consuming or as sweaty as you might think!

We evolved to move our bodies!

Our human ancestors evolved to move on two legs so we could hunt and gather efficiently. Movement was a very large part of our survival as a species so a huge part of our brain is dedicated to help us move.

Our ancestors had to be physically active to carry out the activities of their day to day life. If they need to go anywhere, they had to walk, run, swim or climb. They had to move, bend and stretch their bodies to be able to hunter and gather or fetch water.

Life was also more dangerous, and our ancestors would have needed to be able to sprint to flee from predators or even rival tribes.

There’s an interesting article from the Centre for Educational Neuroscience that explains more about this here.

The impact of our modern world

In our modern world, movement is not as necessary for our survival. Many of our modern conveniences have reduced the amount of natural movement we need to do to complete the activities of our day-to-day life.

Many of our jobs are deemed to be “sedentary” – working at a desk, driving vehicles, or working on a till. They don’t require us to move our bodies throughout the day with much of our days being spent in front of a screen. With working from home on the rise we might not even have to leave the house to go to work. Or even get out of bed!

Daily activities, like preparing food, don’t require nearly as much effort or movement as they would have done even a few decades ago. We can use our screens to order the weekly food shopping to be delivered straight to our door. This removes the need to move to visit the shop, walk the aisles, carry a basket or push a trolley, pack and unpack our shopping bags, or to move around the kitchen as we prepare the meal.

Whilst these modern conveniences might save us time and money, this increasingly sedentary lifestyle is minimising the need for us to move our bodies. This reduces the production of endorphins, one of our key happy hormones that we need to feel both physically and mental well.

How can we move more for our mental health?

What can we do to increase movement in our day to benefit our mental health? You’ll notice we have been talking about movement and not exercise – natural movement of our bodies throughout the day is hugely beneficial for our mental health. It changes our brain chemistry, impacting our mood and motivation as well as helping our brain fire up connections keeping it happier and healthier for longer.

Top Tips for Moving for Your Mental Health



Stretching, at your desk or in the car, is a simple but very effective way to reduce stress and tension. It relieves tension in our muscles and increases our blood circulation along with releasing endorphins which help to reduce anxiety. Putting the shopping away is a great way to stretch and bend, as is gardening and cleaning the house! Seeing these “chores” as a way to add beneficial movement to our day can even make us want to do them more!


Reduce the amount of time you are sat down during your day. Try using a stand up desk. Get up and walk around whilst on a phone call. Stand up meetings are a great way to shift your position as well as keeping meetings shorter and to the point! You can even set a reminder on your phone or watch to remind you to stand up every 90 minutes.


Increase the amount of walking you do in a day. Park on the far side of the car park. Take the stairs rather than the escalator. Use the bathroom on a different floor. Arrange walking meetings or phone calls. Meet up with friends for a walk rather than a coffee. Vary your pace and your routes to maximise your step count for your physical health too!

Active Breaks

Taking regular breaks in your working day is hugely beneficial for your brain, helping it to be more focused and productive. So why not choose to do something that involves movement during those breaks and get even more benefit for your brain and body too? Why not walk down the corridor to talk to a colleague rather than emailing them? If you’re working from home get up to empty the dishwasher or put some washing on. Look for the opportunities to step outside for a short walk and a breath of fresh air during your day.

In summary …

We don’t have to become a marathon runner or pay for an expensive gym membership to move for our mental health. It’s about increasing the opportunities to move naturally throughout our days in small simple ways. Increasing blood flow and oxygen to both our brain and our bodies and releasing beneficial neurotransmitters into our brains helps to reduce stress, alleviate anxiety, balance our mood and helps our brain to function better and be healthier for longer.

If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy can help you to boost your motivation so that you can move more for your mental health and wellbeing, get in touch with one of our Inspired to Change hypnotherapists to book your free initial consultation today.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.