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The Role of Physical Activity and Sport in Mental Health

By Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK, 02/14/19, 12:00PM CST


There is increasing cooperation between Community Mental Health teams and recreational sport, with recognition that club and team environments can provide supportive and welcoming communities for those with mental health issues.

The evidence linking physical activity with enhanced mental health and wellbeing is now well described(1-4). The Royal College of Psychiatrists recognise exercise prescription as a treatment modality for a wide range of mental health conditions(5). Despite this progress, there is still a stigma that surrounds people suffering with mental health conditions, which can act as a barrier to physical activity and participation in sport. Mental health problems are common and account for the largest single source of disability (23%) in the UK. The latest prevalence, in England of common mental problems is shown below(6, 7)

Physical activity can help prevent and manage mental health problems

1. The UK government has defined wellbeing as ‘a positive physical and social and mental state’ (Department of Health, 2010).