Physical Activity

In support of their recovery, people with a mental illness and their carers can find ways to become more active.

Care and Treatment Plan / Carer’s Assessment:
Goals which service users and carers can set themselves include:-

● Getting advice and information on physical activity
● Contacting the local council to see what exercise activities or facilities are on offer in the area (e.g. swimming pool, aerobics classes, yoga sessions)
● Writing an exercise plan
● Joining a local gym
● Walking whenever they can (and using a pedometer)
● Using stairs rather than lifts
● Joining a dance class or activity club
● Getting together with other people to exercise: e.g. they can play badminton, motivate each other to go for a walk or to the gym, or take part in team exercise such as football
● Using a bike
● Joining a local walking group or team activity.

The NHS recommends that to stay healthy, adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do:

At least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as cycling or fast walking every week
Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).*

This is general exercise advice for adults. The kind of physical activity that is right for the individual will depend on their level of physical ability. For example, if a person is in a wheelchair then swimming or wheelchair sprinting may be the most suitable aerobic exercises. If the person has a physical disability they can discuss what type of exercise is best for them with their doctor.

Supporters could include:-

● GP and Practice Nurse
● Gym instructor
● Health promotion service
● Local council
● Local clubs
● Family member and/or other carer
● Care Coordinator.

Best practice examples in mental health services:-

● Service users and carers in Blaenau Gwent set up a weekly tai chi club in their local mental health project
● Carers and service users in Ynys Môn started a “Walk a Mile” club
● A service user in Bridgend did a Sports Leadership course and designed sports sessions for his fellow service users
● A carer in Ceredigion used a pedometer to monitor her progress as she walked 5,000+ steps every day.

For more information go to:


NHS information on getting more active


Information on exercise including a “12 week fitness plan”


Advice on becoming more physically active


Shows cycle routes throughout the country 


Information on how physical activity improves wellbeing

Mental Health Wales

advice on the physical health goals you can include in your Care and Treatment Plan
*, Dec 2012