Last updated on June 9th, 2023 at 04:24 PM
Esteemed mental health charity MIND, has joined forces with sports brand ASICS to launch an innovative initiative aimed at promoting physical and mental well-being through the exploration of new physical activities.
The project, aptly named Get Active Connectors, made its official debut this week during a mental health dog walk organized by Scarborough, Whitby, and Ryedale Mind.
With its overarching objective of introducing individuals to the manifold benefits of physical exercise in a welcoming and inclusive environment, this initiative aspires to encourage more people across the nation to embrace movement for their mental wellness.
According to a compelling study conducted by Mind, a staggering 65 per cent of individuals believe that physical activity should be offered alongside traditional therapeutic approaches and medication.
Astonishingly, though, nearly half of those who remain inactive cite fatigue as the primary obstacle (48%), while over 40 per cent confess to grappling with body image concerns that deter them from engaging in physical pursuits.
Furthermore, one in five respondents express apprehension about participating in activities solo (22%). These sobering statistics serve as a poignant reminder of the pressing need to address these barriers and support individuals at risk of or already experiencing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
By leveraging the extensive network of local Minds across England and Wales, this commendable endeavour seeks to empower individuals by bolstering their confidence to partake in new activities.
Whether it be through independent endeavours, joining groups or clubs, or utilizing local leisure centres, participants are encouraged to explore a wide array of physical pursuits such as dog walking, geocaching, chair exercise, dance, or even yoga.
Every form of movement contributes to fostering positive mental well-being, reinforcing the message that no effort is too small when it comes to self-care.
The pioneering Get Active Connector role, made possible through Mind’s esteemed partnership with ASICS, builds upon the resounding success of previous physical activity programs.
This invaluable support enables local Minds to finance dedicated physical activity leads within their communities, effectively dismantling some of the formidable barriers that impede individuals with mental health challenges from embarking on an active lifestyle.
Presently, the project is making waves in four prominent locations across England and Wales, with Scarborough, Whitby, and Ryedale Mind and West Sussex Mind representing England, and Mid and North Powys Mind and Neath Port Talbot Mind serving as beacons of progress in Wales.
Excitingly, the scope of this transformative endeavour is expanding to encompass three additional local Minds in England, namely Devon Mind, Islington Mind, and Wirral Mind, and one in Wales, namely Conwy Mind.
Enthusiastic testimonials from past participants of Mind’s physical activity programs reaffirm the immense benefits they derived from their involvement.
Not only did these programs lead to a sustained increase in activity levels over the course of a year, but they also fortified individuals’ resilience and equipped them with enhanced coping mechanisms to navigate life’s challenges.
The fervent hope is that participants in this novel initiative will experience similar transformative effects. Guided by dedicated Get Active Connectors, who offer personalized one-on-one support, individuals will receive the precise encouragement and guidance they need to set themselves in motion and experience the uplifting effects on their mood and overall well-being.
One participant, Louise, cherishes her experience with Scarborough, Whitby, and Ryedale Mind’s dog walking group, sharing, “Initially, I felt overwhelmed by the prospect of joining, but the camaraderie and leisurely walks, whether accompanied by a furry friend or not, have proven immensely rewarding.
Each time, I encounter different individuals, and for that brief period, we engage in heartfelt conversations. It prevents dwelling on troubling thoughts, and the tranquil ambience of nature nurtures a profound sense of tranquillity and healing.”
Expressing his delight, Gary Raucher, the Executive Vice President of ASICS EMEA, emphasized the urgency of collective action, particularly in light of the mounting strain on mental health faced by millions of individuals in recent years.
Recognizing the incontrovertible power of movement to enhance well-being, Raucher asserted ASICS’ commitment to effecting meaningful change.
As he aptly remarked, ASICS derives its name from the Latin phrase “Anima Sana In Corpore Sano,” meaning a sound mind in a sound body, signifying the brand’s unwavering belief in the transformative influence of physical activity on mental wellness.
The collaboration with Mind represents an exceptional opportunity for ASICS to empower an even larger cohort of individuals on their journey towards increased physical activity.
Hayley Jarvis, the Head of Physical Activity for Mind, underscored the pivotal role physical exercise plays in the lives of individuals with mental health struggles, reducing the risk of depression by an astounding 30 per cent.
Alas, she also acknowledged that numerous individuals aspiring to be more active face formidable obstacles rooted in their mental well-being, such as diminished self-confidence, exhaustion, or anxiety in crowded spaces.
Jarvis added that research demonstrates how engaging in physical activities can enhance individuals’ resilience and cultivate a robust support network, thereby facilitating both wellness and community integration.
She further emphasized that staying active paves the way for well-being and resilience amidst mental health challenges. Mind’s Get Active Connectors are steadfast in their commitment to helping individuals forge meaningful connections within their local communities, offering tailored guidance and unwavering support.
Jarvis expressed her deep appreciation for ASICS’ partnership in expanding the horizons of mental health support by enabling more individuals to embark on a journey of physical well-being.
The collaborative efforts of Mind and ASICS in launching the Get Active Connectors project have set a remarkable precedent, one that champions the interplay between physical and mental health.
By extending a compassionate hand to those navigating the complexities of mental health, this transformative endeavour opens doors to healing, resilience, and a renewed sense of vitality.