#FaithinPartnership Week

11th – 15th September 2023

See what happened during our week celebrating and championing cross-sector working!

Embracing Activity: A Pathway to Mental Wellbeing

Why Exercise?

No matter what our faith heritage may be – mental health is a common factor for every person alive. The Mental Health Foundation have just released a report for Mental Health Awareness Week. In it, the report outlines the importance of regular exercise and movement as a pathway to better mental health.

As people of faith, we look after our spiritual wellbeing through regular practices, so in the same way we should make sure that our bodies are well looked after. This should then help to improve our mental health.

All faith traditions have some teaching about the importance of physical wellbeing, where the overarching message is clear: staying active is not just about physical fitness; it could be said to be a sacred practice that nurtures the body, mind, and spirit.

if I do a long walk with the dog in the evening, I feel I sleep much better…”

How is the UK doing?

According to the Mental Health Foundation report mentioned above, 82% of UK adults are aware that their mental well-being could be improved through regular exercise. Yet more than one third of UK adults (36%) do not meet the physical activity recommendations set out by the World Health Organisation.

According to other sources, regular exercise can reduce your risk of depression by up to 30%.[1]

It also increases your chances of fighting infections, improves your sleep, and fosters a greater sense of community when accompanied by others.

[1] Physical Activity: Applying All Our Health: Office for Health Improvement & Disparities, Public Health England: 2022

“I know when I do go out for a walk, I come back feeling a lot better.”

Let's Keep it Simple

No-one is asking you to run a marathon! A simple regular walk (even better with others) can make a significant difference. Local parks are usually plentiful – you don’t have to spend money, you don’t have to buy a dog, you don’t have to join a gym. Of course, all those things are fine in themselves, but if you are struggling to find time, or struggling to find a budget, then keeping it simple and accessible is the key.

Whether through running, brisk walks, yoga sessions, or community sports, each step taken in the pursuit of physical health is a testament to our commitment to holistic wellbeing. By embracing activity as a spiritual discipline, we can cultivate a deeper sense of harmony with ourselves and the world around us.

Download the Mental Health Report

Access Suicide Prevention Resource

About David Simmons

Senior Project Coordinator

Having spent the first years of his professional life in the City of London, David has spent the past 19 years working in the Voluntary Sector, as a children and family practitioner, and latterly as a social researcher, for which he was awarded a PhD in 2013 with the University of Greenwich.

He runs his own company, Absolute Communication, and has worked with Cinnamon Network, Eido Research, Future Perfect, REACH Community Projects, Refresh in Weymouth, Yeovil 4Family, and Sussex Police, among others.

David is also a musician, singer, songwriter, and actor, having co-produced three musicals, and has also produced a one-man version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.