Warning mental health at risk for people in Suffolk not moving enough

Jon Leek and marathon runners

New research has found that people across Suffolk could be putting their mental health at risk by failing to meet their need for movement. - Credit: Suffolk Mind/Archant

New research has found that people across Suffolk could be putting their mental health at risk by not moving enough.

Mental health charity Suffolk Mind has released new data revealing the number of people who meet their need for movement fell between January and July 2022 compared to the same period last year.

When asked how well they were meeting their movement needs on a scale of 3 to -3, participants scored an average of -0.23 – compared to 0.09 in 2021.

Jon Neal, chief executive of Suffolk Mind, said: "It's important we meet our physical and emotional needs to maintain good mental health.

"Movement is not only key for our physical health, but it's vital for our mental health too. It helps us burn off cortisol – the stress hormone – while also increasing our endorphin levels to feel good.

Mr Neal added: "It can also have positive knock-on effects for our other needs such as sleep, as exercise tires our bodies and helps clear our minds.

"Movement can also help with our need for community and close relationships if we are moving with others, as well as our need for achievement by meeting goals we set."

Jon Neal

Jon Neal is the chief executive of mental health charity Suffolk Mind. - Credit: Suffolk Mind

Most Read

Suffolk Mind advises people to meet their 12 physical and emotional needs in order to stay mentally well. These needs are security, control, attention, status and respect, community, privacy, emotional connection, achievement, meaning and purpose, food and drink and movement.

Suffolk Mind experts suggest inventive ways for people to meet their need for movement, including conducting walk and talk meetings, visiting a local pool, or sitting exercises for those who work at a desk for prolonged periods.

People looking to take this further can also complete their 100-mile challenge to meet their need for movement while raising money to support the charity's services.

More than 100 fundraising pages have been set up by people in Suffolk who are choosing to walk, run, cycle or swim 100 miles in 100 days this summer.