At the risk of starting the New Year with another resolution, a campaign being organised in conjunction with MIND, the mental health charity, has struck me as an inspiring way to promote well-being and be part of a community initiative. I’ve written a few articles previously about the mental benefits of physical exercise, so here is a specific campaign to reap those benefits. I also want to mention some words of caution about doing this too vigorously if you’re not prepared.
Every Day Benefits
So what’s it all about? RED in January stands for Run Every Day in January. The idea of the campaign is not just about enjoying the health benefits of running or other exercise, but also about raising awareness by talking about mental health, and it can be means of raising money for MIND.
Notes of Caution
Before you take things further consider the following issues that are described in more detail on MIND’s website:
- Some medications prescribed for mental health problems may cause problems if you exercise too vigorously. As a result, you may experience dizziness or other side effects
- Be careful about the risks of too much exercise. People can become obsessive about exercise. The ‘rush’ it brings people can become addictive. People with eating disorders should also be aware that exercise is a means of losing weight which may be damaging
- If you have mental health problems that bring about anxiety or panic experiences, exercise may bring about similar sensations. Exercise can be done in moderation
- Running can put pressure on muscles and joints so consider your physical state before running
- Think about where you might be running and staying safe, particularly as daylight is short. Use the MIND website https://mind.org.uk/redjanuary to make links with others who might be running and see if you can join a group
- For all of the reasons above, you should consider a health check-up, perhaps from your GP before you embark on a new regime of exercise.
If you want to get involved have a look at the RED January website at: http://www.runeverydayjanuary.com/. If you or people you work with don’t want to run every day, there is no minimum distance. Or you might want to do just some exercise every day because the benefits of physical exercise don’t just come from running. As the campaign says, there are no rules. It’s just about being active every day for the first month of 2018.