#MoveitHK: How Fitness Can Improve Your Mental Health

“Exercise more” is a regular guest on the list of top New Year’s Resolutions, but it’s more important than you might think—not for simply losing a few pounds or toning up, but for improving mental health.

mental health move it hk exercise benfits mind hk mental health fitness
Image courtesy of Tyler Nix / Unsplash

In a bid to get people moving for better mental health, the#MoveitHK campaign asks supporters to pledge to work out for their mental health between January 16th and February 17th 2019. Participants are asked to commit to whatever they can—the Mind HK team are pledging 31 hours, or around an hour a day.

The campaign comes after non-profit Mind HK found that in Hong Kong, 52% of adults do not achieve the minimum amount of recommended physical activity, and only 4.7% of Hong Kong’s youth get an hour a day of exercise. Studies suggest that an hour of exercise 3-5 times per week is enough to give you a mood boost—and exercising every day for up to an hour is the optimum. Trying to raise awareness surrounding the correlation between exercise and good mental health, the #MoveitHK campaign aims to encourage people to be active and social to improve their mind and body.

Globally, 1 in 4 people will experience mental health problems, and 1 in 7 people in Hong Kong experienced a common mental disorder in 2018. Young people particularly struggle with this, with 53% of secondary school students in Hong Kong displaying signs of depression.

What is it exactly that we’re talking about when we say ‘mental health’? We bandy the term around a lot these days, and a lot of people think instantly of depression, but there’s a whole host of mental health issues that are more or less common: anxiety, stress, OCD, eating disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, addiction, PTSD… the list goes on. Whether or not we are diagnosed with a specific illness, mental health is as important as physical health for everyone, including the management of stress. The relationship between mind and body has been well established: current research shows that both your mind and body are intimately linked to one another, so maintaining your physical health has good consequences for your mental health and vice versa. 

Image courtesy of Bruce Mars

Exercise isn’t a one-stop solution, but it certainly helps and is often part of several elements that help individuals maintain good—or better—mental health on a day-to-day basis. Studies have shown exercise to reduce and prevent depression, boost self-esteem, reduce stress, and improve productivity and performance, not to mention the social benefits of team sports or group exercise. 

The campaign asks supporters to pledge to work out for their mental health between January 16th and February 17th 2019—whatever you can fit into your schedule, whether that’s a 20-minute walk or a game of basketball. Sounds doable, right? Get your friends and colleagues together to support the cause with your own pledge, share your workouts on moveithk.com and share on social media with the #moveitHK tag—there’s no time like the present. 

For more information, visit moveithk.com.

Figures quoted in this article are from mind.org.hk.

Rebecca Cairns

Editor & CCO

Hong Kong-based Rebecca Cairns is the editor for Compare Retreats, and has formerly written on travel and wellness with Hong Kong Tatler and The Culture Trip. As a NASM-certified personal trainer, Becca is interested in all things fitness. An avid runner, she enjoys running 5K, 10K and 21K races and is currently training for her first marathon. When she's not travelling, she's planning her next trip, taking hikes to the beach or scribbling away in boutique coffee shops. You can follow her travels on Instagram @jetsetcreate.

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