Physical activity and wellbeing â€“ 4 benefits for our mind 1 October 2013 Staying active benefits your diabetes management, but did you know that being active can also improve your outlook on life as well as your mood? Below are the top five ways that being active can help keep your emotional wellbeing: 1. Physical activity increases your ‘happy hormones’ When you are physically active your body releases endorphins, which are our body’s ‘happy hormones’. They can produce feelings of general wellbeing and even euphoria and can reduce pain. Studies have shown that physical activity can also relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. Being active gives you a happy buzz which can instantly boost your overall mood. Being active may distract from the cycle of negative thoughts which can make anxiety and depression worse. The hormones which are released as a result of being active can also help calm you. 2. Physical activity reduces your stress levels Physical activity can have a positive impact on both physical stress (muscle tension, headaches, neck and back pain) and mental stress (worry, being irritable, being restless, insomnia, anger and panic). Physical activity also increases your levels of hormones that can improve your brain’s response to stress. This means that keeping active can help to prevent stress and help you to deal with any stress that you currently have – it’s a win-win for you! 3. Physical activity can help you relax All types of activity can help you to feel more relaxed. Being active helps reduce your levels of stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol that are naturally produced in your body. The ‘happy hormones’ are also at work again which help you to be more relaxed and feel positive. 4. Physical activity improves your self-confidence and self-esteem Research has shown that as you see your body getting stronger and fitter from being active you can feel better about yourself and your body. This can boost your self-esteem and help you to have a positive self-image. Just a reminder â€“ if you have not exercised in a while, see your doctor to get the OK to start. You also need to keep in mind that exercise can cause low blood glucose levels. For more information on exercise recommendations for people with diabetes, please see our information sheet Physical activity and type 2 diabetes and Balancing food, activity and insulin.