2020 doesn’t skip the popular New Year resolutions and getting active could be one from your list. Red January comes back this year and encourages you to challenge yourself and put your body and mind into action every January day, whether we talk about running, swimming, cycling or any other fitness activity. Red Jan works in partnership with Mind and raises funds to help continue Mind’s mission of changing lives and improving people’s mental health.
Eleanor Thomson made up her resolutions before New Year’s Eve and signed up for the first time for Red January in December. She saw adverts about Red January on social media and decided to dedicate herself every day to physical activity.
But what was the reason behind her commitment? Eleanor says: “January is the month I always find hardest, especially the first week, for a number of reasons. This seemed like a good way to help secure my mental health, keep me active and raise funds and awareness for Mind”.
She does yoga every day, alongside running, strength training, and virtual cycling sessions which her daughter and husband join. She started turning the January blues into Red with a double parkrun for the first time at Skipton and Cliffe Castle.
In terms of the health benefits, Eleanor says that being active every day helps her rest both her body and mind and that her anxiety levels improve, being able to cope with the ups and downs. She adds that her sleep improved and that helps her a lot during the day.
To keep herself motivated, Eleanor tries to find activities that she can do together with her family and to have a flexible plan. Being happier, more confident, and keeping in mind that physical activity reduces her risk of being hit again by breast cancer are other important reasons for which Eleanor stays active. She encourages people to join the Red January Community Facebook group as it is really motivational and one can find mutual encouragement on tougher days.
At Get Set Leeds we’ve written before about the positive effect of activity on our mental health, and about how committing to a group and having their support can help you stick at it. We think Red January is a great example of both these ideas rolled into one.