Movement for your mental health: how do minerals fuel your body and mind

Movement for your mental health: how do minerals fuel your body and mind

Moving regularly is one of the simplest and most effective ways to protect our mental health. Because the body and mind are connected, looking after our bodies physically can help to keep mental health problems at bay. Just 10 minutes of gentle exercise daily can boost your mood, mental alertness, and energy levels.

These ideas on how to get moving published by the Mental Health Foundation, are a great place to start:

  1. Find moments for movement: Whether you’re waiting at the bus stop, or making a brew, these moments offer the opportunity to incorporate movement into your day. Try pacing back and forth to the bus stop, or around your kitchen while waiting.
  2. Start with small goals: You don’t need to aim to run a marathon, simply walking to the end of the street is a good place to start. By setting small, achievable goals, you’ll feel accomplished when you reach them, and enjoy pushing yourself a little further each day.
  3. Take a break from sitting: Sitting for hours isn’t good for us. If you’re working at a desk or sitting for a long time, set a timer to take a movement break. A break from the screen will help your eyes too.
  4. Move with others: Participating in activities with others is a great way to strengthen personal connections and make new friends. Social connections are also important for our mental health and well-being.

Nutrition also plays an important role in how your mind and body function, contributing to how you feel. Minerals are micronutrients involved in the processes that help your body to create energy and move your muscles, facilitating movement. They are also involved in cognition and immunity.

Supporting energy:
Magnesium is a major mineral, supporting a reduction in tiredness and fatigue, as well as energy-yielding metabolism (energy production at a cellular level). Iron, Iodine, Calcium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese are minerals also proven to support energy levels.

Move your muscles:
Calcium and magnesium work together to keep your muscles functioning. Calcium triggers the muscle fibers to shorten and contract, while magnesium acts in reverse, allowing the muscle fibers to relax after contraction.

Digest and metabolise:
The process of digestion and metabolism involves the breaking down of food in the body and then converting it into fuel that the body can use to generate energy. Calcium helps your digestive enzymes to function, supporting the breakdown of food into absorbable molecules. Chromium and Zinc help the body to metabolise macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and protein). Your body needs energy to function properly and move without feeling fatigued.

Protect your health:
A healthy immune system helps the body to protect itself from pathogens and fight them off if an infection occurs. When you’re ill, you may feel tired, sluggish, and unmotivated, which can cause your mental health to suffer. Supporting your natural defence system with minerals including Zinc, Selenium and Iron, helps to keep your immune system functioning as it should.
By moving your body on a daily basis, and providing it with the nutrients it needs to do so, you can help to look after your mental health.

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