News - 23rd December 2022

Top five ways moving more in the winter can boost mental wellbeing

People wearing Red January t-shirts all running at event

Research shows that inactivity increases in the winter, and that this can often be linked to lower mood and energy levels. That’s why we’re excited to be teaming up with RED January, a nationwide public health movement that’s motivating us all to move every day in January, to support our mental wellbeing. 


RED January is backed by research from the University of Oxford, which shows that more than half of participants experienced a significant improvement in happiness and a reduction in anxiety, with 74% reporting being more active than usual during the month.


Here, they share their top five ways to move more in January to support your mental wellbeing:


1. Keeping connected


With fewer social occasions to keep us connected, we can feel more isolated in January. One of the things that can really help to motivate us all to move for our wellbeing is finding a community of people. We’re often encouraged to keep going on those harder days by someone we trust.


“When you’re moving with a group of people, the focus is different, it’s more about connection… you’re having a shared experience, and connecting with people who are doing something similar to you.”  – REDer, Trojan


2. Setting realistic goals


Having a personal goal to move more can make a real difference. Starting the year with small and realistic movement goals can help you form those healthy habits that will support your mental wellbeing all year round. 


“Life changes and so you have to then challenge yourself to accept that you might not be able to do what you thought… it might look different but that’s ok.”  – REDer, Mandy 


3. Beating the winter blues


2022 has proven a difficult year for many, with the impact of the pandemic and the sharp rise in the cost of living taking their toll on people’s mental health. Before the pandemic, an estimated one in eight people globally were living with mental health challenges, and the first year of the pandemic increased both anxiety and depressive disorders by 25%. That’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritise your mental wellbeing. 


“Whilst you run, it does centre you into what you’re doing right now, and you realise how you feel emotionally… processing how you feel, and what’s going on for you internally, that’s what running gives you most of all.” – REDer, Trojan


4. Giving yourself a free gift


For many, winter can be a tough time of year, made more difficult with ongoing inflation issues, so lots of us may be finding it more challenging to prioritise our own health at the moment. 


Finding free and accessible ways to move, like joining parkrun and RED January, can really help.


“This is something I’m doing for myself, and it’s a gift for myself.” – REDer, Trojan


5. Start the year as you mean to go on


If you can move more during January, the coldest and darkest month of the year, just think what you can achieve throughout the rest of the year! 


It’s important to recognise when during the day and week works best for you to move, and then to try and save that time for yourself. 


“If I haven’t moved in the morning then it’s game over! The routine is really really important, as motivation is an ever-changing flux.” – REDer, Mandy


Join the Red January parkrun team and sign up for free today.



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