This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week will take place from 13 to 19 May 2024, on the theme of “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”.

The benefits of moving our bodies to improve our mental health are well documented.  As employers, it is crucial to encourage employees to move during the working day to support their holistic health.

There are multiple benefits to moving more frequently throughout the day. Physical activity releases chemicals in our brains; dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphins which are essential for regulating our mood and improving our wellbeing as well as reducing our stress levels. There are many cognitive function improvements such as better memory, focus and attention which are immediately increased when we are physically active, all of which contribute to a more productive and positive workforce.

‘Office workers are identified as being the most sedentary group in the working population spending 73% of their working day sitting down.‘

(Source: British medical journal 2022)

There is also a link between a sedentary work life and home life, so the more that movement is encouraged and supported in the workplace the more likely that employees will begin to move more in general.  Muscle memory also plays a part, when we sit in the same position for too long too often, our bodies find it uncomfortable to change position.


5 tips to encourage employees to move more to improve their mental health and wellbeing;

  • Standing desks and under desk Treadmills – there is evidence to suggest that changing regularly from sitting to standing during the working day has a positive impact on our physical and mental health. Our bodies evolved to stand and our digestion and blood flow to organs and muscles improves on standing.  Having a more dynamic posture can alleviate aches and pains in the joints.  Changing position at regular intervals can really help with muscular skeletal issues.

A typical example is sit for 30 minutes, stand for 25 minutes and walk for five minutes every hour.” (IOSH Magazine 2022)

  • Dance – Music and dancing improve our mood as well as keeping us active in a fun way. Put on your favorite tunes and have a dance in your lunch break or in between tasks.  Share mood boosting music with colleagues to create a soundtrack together to boost mood and activity in work breaks or join a dance class.  We can store negative emotions in our bodies and movement can help to release these when we stretch, shake and dance.


  • Walk round the block – take a short mindful walk, this will allow the brain to take a break from work tasks, to reset and recharge by tuning in to the environment with all senses, to soak up some vitamin D and breathe in some fresh air. Paying attention to what is seen, heard, touched, smelt and felt can help to relieve feelings of anxiety and give mood a boost.
  • Move more in the workplace challenge – this can be inclusive and can be adapted to ensure that all staff members are able to participate in setting a goal they are comfortable with to move more at work and home. Create meeting spaces where employees can stand to meet or have to move away from their desks.  Position printers and coffee break rooms away from the work area to encourage movement.  Perhaps invite participation to a local park run or steps challenge. There are free exercise apps available, for example Couch to 5K and Active 10.
  • Chair yoga at your desk– low impact exercises like Yoga or Thai Chi can help to manage anxiety symptoms and improve core strength. There are many  free online courses and no equipment is needed.  This can be a manageable way to slowly introduce moving more at work and home for beginners, people with disabilities and any desk workers.

As with any change in activity levels it is important to for employees to listen to their body and to ensure that they are setting small achievable goals which can change over time whilst building new habits and reflecting on your progress.

For anyone with a disability or taking medication, any concerns should be discussed with the GP before embarking on any major changes.  Small changes can reap great rewards.


How can PAM Wellness Solutions help?

Our comprehensive wellbeing services can help to reduce mental health issues in your organisation with the following support services:

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): Access to a 24/7 confidential helpline answered by qualified counsellors for in-the-moment emotional support. As well as wellbeing resources to support a variety of personal and professional issues.

Enhanced Psychological Services: Access to professional counsellors through management referrals, providing employees with proactive support to effectively manage their mental health challenges

Mental Health First Aid: By implementing Mental Health First Aid to support employees, we can help you reduce the prevalence of mental health issues. All our mental health first aid training is delivered by qualified professionals with experience in workplace mental health.

Mental Health Webinars: Increase awareness of mental health in the workplace by booking our workshops and training on specialist topics relating to mental health and wellbeing in the workplace.