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Top tips for mental and physical wellbeing


We all know exercise is good for us, but exercise is not just about aerobic capacity and building muscle. Check out Head of Sport, Health and Wellbeing Dan Stanley's top tips for improving your wellbeing at LBU.

Here are my top six tips for looking after your wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University.

Lifestyle Courses - ideal for beginners

The university’s lifestyle courses are ideal for beginners, or if you are looking to get back into physical activity.

The courses include something different for you to get active, with many of our courses running as part of eight week programmes.

Lifestyle courses range from relaxation courses including yoga to more active programmes such as Couch to 5k as well as introduction to weightlifting.

Turn Up and Play – play non-competitive sport

The Turn Up and Play sports programmes is a great way to play sport for fun at Leeds Beckett University.

There are plenty of sports for you to try through Turn Up and Play and the best part is, you don’t have to commit to playing every week.

If you want to play football one week and want to try another sport the next, you can. Whether you want to play with your friends or meet new people, the programme is a great way to be social and keep active.

Join the university gym - students

The Active Beckett membership is ideal for any Leeds Beckett University student looking to make the most out of their university gym. Your student gym membership gives you the chance to use any of our gyms, in Leeds City Centre and at the Carnegie Sports Centre, Headingley Campus as well as our swimming pool in Headingley and take part in any of our fitness classes.

Join the university gym – staff

The Sport & Active Lifestyles membership for colleagues of LBU offers you a fantastic range of opportunities to improve your physical wellbeing.

The membership allows you to use any of our gyms, take part in any of our fitness classes, use the swimming pool at Headingley Campus and take part in a range of social sport activities and hire out our sports courts and pitches. Plus as a member you can also get discount on our lifestyle courses programme.

Join a sports team

The Leeds Beckett Athletic Union has 40 sports clubs, and over 85 teams. Most clubs have a number of teams offering different levels of competition and lots of our teams take absolute beginners! Your first session with each Club is FREE just get in touch with the Club or the AU.

Go for a walk

Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get active. Getting out in the fresh air is also great for your state of mind! There are some fantastic walks in and around our Headingley campus and for those of you based at city campus, there are some great city walks or you could even take a trip down to the canal.

Try Parkrun

Why not try parkrun at woodhouse moor? Parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs. They are open to everyone, regardless of whether you want to run or walk. Even better, its free!

Studies and insights

There are also several studies available which have proven that doing physical activity can improve your wellbeing, including the below examples and outcomes.

Better sleep. 

Even short bursts of exercise in the morning or afternoon can help regulate your sleep patterns.

More energy 
Increasing your heart rate several times a week will give you more get-up-and-go.

Start off with just a few minutes of exercise per day and increase your workout as you feel more energised.

Sharper memory and thinking 
The same endorphins that make you feel better also help you concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand.

Better self-esteem 
Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.

You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can improve your confidence.

Connect with people 
Doing group or team activities can help you meet new and like-minded people, and make new friends.

Managing stress, anxiety or intrusive and racing thoughts 
Doing something physical releases cortisol which helps us manage stress. Being physically active also gives your brain something to focus on and can be a positive coping strategy during difficult times

Reduce the risk of depression 
Studies have shown that doing regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of experiencing a period of depression.

Exercise can also act as an anti-depressant for people with mild to moderate depression.

But how much exercise do you need to do to feel the benefit?

You do not need to spend hours in the gym or run mile after mile to be active and healthy, just 30-minutes of moderate exercise five times a week will help reap the benefits.This could even be split in to two 15 minute or three 10 minute bouts of exercise spread across your day.

However, even a little bit of activity helps, so if you can only manage bouts of five or 10 minutes then that is OK too.

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