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Mental health

Move your body, heal your mind

Happiness, like stress, is related to chemical reactions in our body. Endorphins, dopamine and serotonin all play a part in tipping the scale of our mood. Unfortunately, too many of us are trying to influence our mood through alcohol and other substance use, or by sitting in front of the TV or smartphone screen for hours on end.

 Before the pandemic, most Canadian adults were spending up to 10 hours a day being sedentary, and those numbers have only gone up since. While these activities may offer some short-term relief, they can have significant negative long-term effects. 

older women playing with hula hulaThe power of movement

The good news is that there’s an easy way to start boosting your mood: exercise. Research consistently shows that regular physical activity is essential for good mental health. Studies have demonstrated that physically active people are more satisfied with their lives and that exercise itself is strongly linked to happiness. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that reduce feelings of pain and increase feelings of pleasure, literally boosting your mood. At the same time, it also reduces stress hormones, like cortisol, which makes us feel more resilient when met with more stressful situations. In fact, within five minutes after doing moderate exercise, you’re likely to experience a mood-enhancement effect! 

Man cycling woman wheelingHere are some of our best mental health tips, strategies and resources:

Happy Better

Our Happy Better Page is a great starting point to discover how physical activity can have a powerful positive effect on your mental health!

Move for your mood

This article is brought to you by the Canadian Mental Health Association and ParticipACTION to raise awareness of the mental health benefits of physical activity and provide actionable solutions to Move for your mood!

Get outside for your spring self-care routine

Spring  provides a renewal for many of our ecosystems, with parks, gardens and forests coming back to life and flourishing. These natural landscapes are a perfect setting for mental health-boosting walks and wheels that can kickstart your spring renewal routines.

7 science-backed reasons to get outside immediately

It’s unfortunate that we don’t spend more time outdoors because being surrounded by nature leads to all kinds of health-boosting benefits. Here are seven science-backed ways getting outside can improve your health and well-being.

Related content

Here are more great ParticipACTION articles and videos to move you.