Linking physical activity and positive mental health
Collaborative practice was a theme that emerged from a recent report focused on sharing the evidence connecting physical activity and positive mental health. The report was based on an interdisciplinary workshop held by a provincial multi-sectoral initiative, “Winnipeg in Motion,” in May 2011.
Keynote speakers and group discussions highlighted the relationship between physical activity and positive mental health. Presentations highlighted the benefits of addressing physical and mental health care together, especially considering the high proportion of people with co-existing conditions such as chronic disease and mental health issues. Physical activity provides physical benefits and improved psychosocial outcomes.
Program outcomes for a variety of populations such as women with schizophrenia, cardiac patients and French-speaking adults were shared. Women with schizophrenia saw improved quality of life, physical functioning, and confidence in eating well and being physically active after a six week program. Cardiac patients who are vulnerable to depression and poor compliance with healthy behaviours benefited from individualized and structured physical activity programming, although only 30 per cent of those encouraged to participate actually did. French-speaking adults with moderate depression also saw physical and mental health improvements with a physical activity program led by an interdisciplinary team.
Among the future recommendations from the 87 professionals in attendance were:
The need for inter-professional education on this topic;
Changing the focus of messaging from weight loss to decreased sedentary behaviours; and
Promotion and support for non-traditional program delivery to reach marginalized populations.
See “Linking Physical Activity and Positive Mental Health: Sharing the Evidence,” available at www.umanitoba.ca.
To see slides and other handouts from the event, visit “Conversations in Motion Series” at www.umanitobal.ca/conversations.