It’s that time of year when many of us are looking to get fit. But what if you could combine your exercise with a mental health boost. These groups do exactly that
It’s that time of year when many of us are looking to get fit. What if exercise could be combined with mental health benefits? These groups do exactly that
When Jack Duddy’s best friend, Adam Bolton, killed himself in 2019, Duddy (pictured) struggled to cope with his grief. He eventually turned to running “to heal and gather my emotions”. Now, the vegan chef is available Bolt, a weekly running club based in Crystal Palace Park, London, for “anyone who needs a place to talk and some company to run with”.
“Dips not distance” is the maxim at Rachel Ashe’s social enterprise, Mental Health Swims. Ashe (pictured), who was struggling with her mental health, started organizing swims at her local Swansea Beach for anyone who needed them. Now, 80 locations across the UK host volunteer-led meets. They include a swim or paddle and tea, cake, followed by a 10-minute litter pick up.
Image: Mental Health Swims
Katie Marlow’s first ever mountain bike ride in 2018 was “one of the wettest days imaginable with rain coming down in sheets”, but she felt “the joy coming back to me in a sudden rush”. Marlow, a South Yorkshire woman, started a monthly bike club after realising how biking helped her deal with depression. Wellness RidesIntroduce others to the mental as well as physical benefits.
Image: Katie Marlow
Joe Taylor, a young man with mild to severe mental illness, ran a pilot project for six weeks in Watergate Bay (Cornwall) in 2010. One-to-one surfing lessons were provided for those with issues. It was the UK’s first ‘surf therapy’ course, funded by the NHS. The charity now runs projects for 8–21 year-olds, referred by schools and mental health and social services, All across the UK
Image: Megan Hemsworth
Scott Johnson (pictured) posted videos on Facebook in September 2020 of him walking through south-east London, sharing his anxiety struggles as he went. He urged other men to join him, saying “don’t suffer in silence, lads”. Now, Johnson’s Proper Blokes Club aims to counter a “man-up culture” with weekly walking and talking meetups in Southwark, Greenwich, Woolwich and Wallington.
Image: Scott Johnson
Main image: Megan Hemsworth