Stress Management

How Does Exercise Improve Employee Mental Health?

shutterstock_1090923149.jpg

Physical activity is not only good for your body, ensuring a healthy heart, strong muscles and durable bones, it’s also very beneficial for your mental health and wellbeing. Looking after your health should be a top priority and not something ‘you should do’.


Being active does not have to mean participating in a sport or attending a gym, there are lots of ways to remain active, and it’s important to find one that works for you. The Trainers have put together a guide to show how physical activity can positively impact your own mental wellbeing. We have also included some tips and suggestions to help improve your mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Take care of your body.It’s the only place you have to live
— Jim Rohn

What is physical activity?

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. It is recommended that an average adult should participate in 75 and 150 minutes of exercise per week. Any activity that raises your heart rate and increases your breathing counts as exercise.

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing is defined as the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. The World Health Organisation says that ‘Mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. It is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.’

What impact does physical activity have on wellbeing?

Physical activity enhances our wellbeing. Even short bursts of exercise can increase alertness, energy and improve our mood. Participating in regular physical activity can increase self-esteem, improve quality of life and can also reduce stress and anxiety.


Increases mood

Physical activity has been proven to have a positive effect on mood. Those who are more active generally feel more content, are more awake and are also calmer than those who are inactive for a long period of time. When exercising, the body releases chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling similar to that of morphine. It is also known as the ‘happiness hormone’ or the ‘runners high’. According to mentalhealth.org ‘better mental health support in the workplace can save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year’. Did you know that exercise is thought to be just as effective as antidepressants?

Decreases stress levels

Symptoms of stress can include sleeping problems, sweating, and loss of appetite. These symptoms are caused by a rush of hormones, mainly adrenaline, and noradrenaline which can cause the heart rate to increase. Physical activity can be a very effective way of relieving stress. Research has shown that employees who are highly active tend to have lower stress rates compared to those who are inactive.

Decreases depression & anxiety

Physical activity can reduce levels of anxiety and depression, it is an empowering approach that supports self-management. According to Shoosmiths ‘one in six workers suffer from anxiety, depression and unmanageable stress each year’ and evidence from mentalhealth.org suggests that ‘12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions’.

Where to start?

Becoming more active is great! But, where do you start?

  1. Overcome barriers - Fear, lack of energy and injury can all hinder people from getting started. However, support from colleagues and exercising with companions can help to reduce anxiety, it will increase accountability and motivation.

  2. Make time - Scheduling exercise as appointments which cannot be missed in work diaries is a great way of overcoming ‘I do not have time!’ Make time in your busy schedule.

  3. Convenience - Choose an activity which is convenient and something that will be right for you. For example, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to burn fat, gets the heart pumping and endorphins flowing, and all can be achieved in 30 minutes in your lunch hour.

  4. At work - Move more by taking the stairs or every 30 minutes stretch your legs. Walk or cycle a slightly longer route home. Or have a personal trainer come to your office for a bespoke fitness class.

We hope this article will get you thinking about how you can become more physically active if you are an employee or if you are an employer you may be inspired to find different wellbeing approaches that can enhance your company.

This is a guest blog from Holly at The Trainers and may not represent the views of Emprana.





What not to say in today's supportive mental health climate.

rawpixel-423658-unsplash.jpg

Alarm bells rang when the words “You don’t go home whilst everyone else is rowing the boat” were forcefully spoken by the person interviewing me. City life in the late eighties, early nineties was exciting, stressful and full on. I still remember the panicked reactions of people around me the moment the interest rates hit 15%. At the time I had my ear glued to the phone speaking to brokers and banks rapidly handwriting list of shares and negotiating lending rates, making rapid on the spot decisions in the stock lending department of a busy city office. Instant responses, fixed deadlines, late office hours, work hard play hard, pink champagne and no emergency stop button. No one seemed to be talking mental health back then. Life was a case of rinse and repeat with a carefully executed plan to robotically arrive at the platform in the morning at the exact time the train pulled in to the station and then return at some undetermined time in the evening. It was an unsustainable way of working for me that offered the options of “stay” “move on” or “develop”

aaron-weiss-1106312-unsplash.jpg

“Stay” …. I did for a while, not with the company who “owned the boat” but until the opportunity arose to “move on.”  A franchise business was on the horizon, a new opportunity in the 24 hour a day fire & flood restoration industry. You could say I went out of the fire into the fire! The early days of setting up the business were manic, the stress and pressure constant, the feeling of being on the edge of my seat waiting to respond to an emergency call was often all consuming. Home and work life merged into one with no clear division, there was very little time to relax and clear my mind before the next day came around again.  

It was during the years of this business that the chance to “develop” arose, a pivotal moment that gave me the opportunity to become physically stronger, emotionally calmer, gave me a sense of peace and a shaper mind. An endless font of knowledge was now at my finger tips and transformed the way I felt and worked.  I came to understand more about the mind and how by getting it under control I could be more patience, efficient and tolerant. This transformation in myself played a key part in the overall success of the business.

shutterstock_132413567.jpg

Now back at the present day the tools and techniques that have shaped my life over the last ten years have propelled me to voice the importance of self development and personal growth both inside and outside of work.  Today’s conversations around mental health in the work place can relieve the pressure cooker feeling for many people and open up pathways to recover and maintain both their physical & psychological health. To be able to share the self development techniques that changed my life with those companies back in the city where it all started is humbling, rewarding and comes from a place of validation.

 I do sometimes wonder though if that person rowing the boat went overboard, I truly hope not because if he did there’s now a very big life ring available to support him. 

Photo by taseffski/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by taseffski/iStock / Getty Images

Success through transformation.

Learn how to improve your physical, emotional & mental health and transform how you feel and work by contacting www.emprana.co.uk

Please leave your comments below 

Soaking up the atmosphere, what are you actually absorbing?

Have you ever felt like you are having a total sensory overload? We certainly did this week.It happened on our way through Spitalfields, in the East End of London on a beautiful blue sky October morning whilst heading to the MadWorld: Mental Health/Workplace Wellbeing Summit. There were people everywhere, ambling, hurrying, running. Snippets of conversation permeated the air, people with coffee in hand, food on the go, probably purchased  from the Old Spitalfields market, joggers dodging the crowds, cyclists weaving through taxis and buses. Noise, hum, buzz, this was London, vibrant and radiating as any Capital city does everyday. Here we were, immersed in an unescapable sea of people going about their daily business, all unwittingly soaking up London life and all of its intoxicating atmosphere.

IMG_0016.jpg

“Soaking up the atmosphere”, a common expression, often used to describe how we experience, take in or absorb the vibe of a place or an area. Have you ever wondered what we are really “soaking up” In a positive context we can mean good vibrations, happy thoughts and feelings, however on the flip side we are also “soaking up” or absorbing the stress, congestion and negative energies radiating from people all around us. This is happening without us realising it and is one of the reasons why at the end of the day we can feel fatigued and drained. It’s a bit like taking a tissue and dipping it in red dye, the tissue becomes saturated by the dye. Our energy system is no different, except it’s not absorbing dye instead it’s absorbing stress energy.

IMG_0010.JPG

 Understanding that we have an energy system that constantly gets congested and learning techniques to help clean it up can lead us to a healthier, happier, calmer more focused, energised way of living. We clean away grime and dirt from our physical bodies without a second thought but it’s just as important to keep our energy system clean. By increasing our knowledge of the impact of stress energy on our health and how we absorb it we will be able to make changes and begin to transform how we feel and how we ultimately enjoy and experience city life.


IMG_0011.JPG

 

 

Please comment below.