Latest News

Date:

20/5/2024

Posted By:

Charlotte

Category:

Health and Wellbeing

MHAW: The Power of Movement

As we come to the end of Mental Health Awareness Week, the theme of movement doesn’t stop there for us. At Nottingham Forest Community Trust, we believe in the transformative power of physical exercise and movement for enhancing mental wellbeing across all members within our community throughout all our programmes for as long as we can.

 

For many, exercise provides a much-needed break from the pressures of daily life. It offers an opportunity to disconnect from screens, worries, and responsibilities, allowing individuals to focus solely on the present moment. Our BTEC programme is a perfect example of how studies and movement complement each other. Incorporating regular physical activity into their routines can help manage stress levels and enhance overall academic performance. This mindfulness aspect of movement can promote relaxation, improve sleep quality, and boost self-esteem.

Moreover, physical activity encourages a sense of community and connection. Many of our programmes bring community members together to meet like-minded individuals and most importantly understand the benefits of movement, not just doing it for lasting results. Our Healthy Communities programme does exactly this, offering sessions to help boost memory function and personal development. They bring people together from different backgrounds and create safe spaces for participants to socialise, to talk about their health and support each other.

Participating in group exercise or team sports encourages social interaction, camaraderie, and a shared sense of achievement. Our ‘Welcome Through Football’ sessions, allow participants the opportunity to socialise with other refugee/asylum seekers in the local community, to stay active and to build new friendships through the programme. These connections are vital for combating feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are common contributors to poor mental health.

However, movement isn’t just about physical fitness; it’s about nurturing our mental health as well. Engaging in regular physical activity releases endorphins, the body’s natural mood elevators. This connects well with our Premier League Primary Stars programme where movement is essential as it helps release ‘happy hormones’ within the body thus positively increase children’s mental wellbeing especially during times such as SATS for Year 6.  These endorphins not only help to reduce stress and anxiety but also promote a sense of wellbeing and happiness which is crucial at such a young age.

Furthermore, movement serves as a powerful distraction from negative thoughts and patterns. Our Forest Futures programme aims to guide participants away from these possible thoughts onto positive tracks. They have the chance to learn new skills through fitness and experience new opportunities, this allows them to focus on their futures through the programme, enabling them to engage in more sport focused activities as well. When we’re immersed in physical activity, our focus shifts away from worries and concerns, allowing us to experience more positive thought patterns.

 

 

At Nottingham Forest Community Trust, we are committed to making movement accessible to all. We offer a diverse range of programmes and initiatives tailored to different ages and abilities. We’ve recently launched our ‘Neuro Walking Football sessions’, designed to reintroduce individuals affected by neurological impairments—ranging from Parkinson’s to stroke recovery—back onto the pitch. These sessions support a profound sense of accomplishment and belonging, dismissing doubts that many believed about ever kicking a ball again. We strive to empower every member of our community to prioritise their mental wellbeing through physical activity.

However, it’s essential to recognise that movement doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial. The key is finding what works for you and incorporating it into your daily routine.

Physical exercise isn’t just about sculpting our bodies or achieving fitness goals; it’s an effective tool for nurturing our minds. While one of our programmes, ‘Think Big’, focuses on tech education rather than movement, recognising the significance of physical activity is vital for optimising our performance in the classroom by reducing stress, improving focus and concentration.

Within our community, there are many different groups of people that use movement for different meanings, from creating connections to improving concentration. Nevertheless, regardless of the type or intensity of movement, the constant factor remains: the positive effects on our mental wellbeing remain consistent. By prioritising physical activity, we can strengthen not only our bodies but also our minds, creating a happier, healthier, and more resilient community for all.

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