Game of Life - Mental Health

Mental health problems cost the UK care system £21bn and UK business £30bn in sick leave absence and unemployment costs, while dementia costs society £23bn per year.

However, exercise can be as effective as anti-depressants for those with mild clinical depression and elderly people with low physical activity levels have more than twice the risk of Alzheimer’s.

Apart from the debilitating impact poor mental health can have on an individual’s daily life there is a strong relationship between mental ill health and physical ill health.

In adults depression doubles the risk of coronary heart disease and leads to a 50% increase in the risk of mortality, whilst schizophrenia and bipolar disorder reduce life expectancy by an average of 16–25 years and increases the likelihood of obesity and diabetes.

This section looks at the evidence showing how the release of serotonins and endorphins during physical activity can help fight mental health problems.

It also explores the relationship between activity and self-esteem, anxiety, eating disorders, general well-being and other topics.

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