World Mental Health Day: BCA’s tips for a happy body and mind

Catherine Quinn, President of the British Chiropractic Association, shares her top tips to improve your mental health through movement this World Mental Health Day. 

There are many reasons why exercise is good for our body. Benefitting our heart and improving our joints and bones are just two of these. Beyond the physical benefits, however, getting up and moving can positively impact our mental wellbeing too – helping to relive tension and stress as well as release endorphins.

This World Mental Health Day (10 October), Catherine Quinn, chiropractor and President of the British Chiropractic Association, shares some quick and easy things we can all do – no matter our budget, capabilities, or skillset – to improve our physical and mental health.

Catherine’s top tips for better mental health:

  1. Fresh air can do a world of good

The benefits of simply getting out in the fresh air are unparalleled. After a long day at work sitting down at a desk, it’s a great idea to spend some of your evening being active. This doesn’t mean that you need to complete an intense workout. Simply meeting up with a friend for a short evening walk can help. Moving for just 60 minutes a day can have a great impact on the body and mind, and can lead to better general health, stronger bones and muscles and higher levels of self-esteem.

  1. Just use your body

There’s a wealth of exercises you can do from the comfort of your own home, with no equipment or tools needed. From aerobic moves such as jumping jacks, fast feet, skipping and high knees, to body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups, sit ups and planks, glute bridges and dead bugs, and even yoga or tai chi for balance work. Whilst using equipment can be beneficial for workouts, it’s not mandatory. The most important thing is finding a routine that works for you and your lifestyle – remember everyone is different!

  1. Pick up some everyday objects

If you are looking to add more to your workout, there are lots of items in your home that can help increase the intensity of what you’re already doing. One option is to fill a backpack with a few books. This will help you distribute the weight evenly across your body and stimulate your muscles more when completing exercises such as squats or lunges. Cans of beans or filled bottles of water also act as a great replacement for light weights during arm exercises.

  1. Endless online resources

In a world of the internet and social media, there’s a wealth of free online resources to provide inspiration for home workouts. The NHS website has a great bank of 10-minute home exercises that will easily fit into your day whilst helping to improve your general health as well as strengthen and tone different muscle groups. You can also do a quick search for at home workouts or yoga routines on video streaming sites like YouTube for some inspiration. Anything that gets you moving can help boost your mood, which is why I often try to incorporate these tips into my daily routine.

  1. Better posture, better mind

The BCA has also created Straighten Up UK, a programme of quick and simple exercises designed to promote balance, strength and flexibility in the spine, and help you to avoid injury both whilst working out and in everyday life. The programme is divided into three simple segments – warm up, posture care and core balance – so it’s really easy to fit into your daily routine – just like brushing your teeth!