By providing a free event, for all fitness abilities, I wanted to encourage people like my mum to support their mental health by building movement into their daily lives.
By marrying a fitness challenge with the support of a wider online community, I felt sure this could have long-lasting, positive effects on the nation’s mental health.
January seemed like the perfect month for such an event, providing an opportunity to kick-start the year in a positive way.
It’s a time when many of us are setting new goals, are low on funds and motivation, with fewer social occasions to keep us connected. RED was an empowering colour for dark times that could inspire those taking part to ‘get active every day, to beat the blues away’.
I ran RED January alongside my full-time job, relying on support from friends and family. The number of people taking part each year grew quickly, mainly through word of mouth and it became clear there was a demand for a community-based, fitness challenge to get people moving in a typically tough month.
With RED January 2021 just around the corner, I can’t help but reflect on how much the RED community has grown in such strength and support for one another, with over half of this year’s community not only improving their activity levels, but also experiencing less stress and reduced signs of depressive symptoms.
After what has been a challenging year for all of us, my hope is that RED January 2021 provides people with an opportunity to start the new year off on the right foot.
As we can’t all be together in person this January, let’s all be together in purpose.