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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2020  /  February 2020  /  Mind & wellbeing: a dose of daily exercise

Mind & wellbeing: a dose of daily exercise

UCL Geographers beating the January blues with #RedJanuary

Mind & wellbeing: a dose of daily exercise


January can definitely be a struggle - dark nights and post-Christmas-New Year blues take their toll on wellbeing. This is why several people from the department participated in Red January this year, a commitment to do one form of exercise every day, many raising money for the mental health charity Mind.

Helene, Anson and Tank explain the benefits:

Helene Burningham: I’ve only recently taken up running (canicross-style, as I run with my two dogs Muck and Dory), but I realised very quickly that it wasn’t just my physical health that was seeing the benefits. My head is always full, but when I run the busy-ness is replaced by the single thought, ‘just keep going’, and it really does lighten my head for a while! But I also just love being outdoors, and running with the dogs is great for that. It was a challenge to fit the runs in - there were many days when I had to resort to running the dark morning dog walk as there just wasn’t any other time to do it. But I’m amazed how far we’ve come in a month, so we’ll just keep going!

Just Giving: Dory-Muck-and-Helene

Anson Mackay: It’s no secret that I run a lot to keep my mental health in check, but my running is always haphazard, apart from the weekly UCLGeoggers. To be honest, I first thought how hard can running 5k every day be? And in 10 days, I realised very hard! Finding time was a bit of a nuisance, and doing it every day took its toll. But in week 3 things seemed to click. Finding time was only a nuisance if I made it so, and I began to enjoy the necessity to get out there and do some daily exercise.

Just Giving: Anson

Tank Green: I’m a bit of an interloper here since I participate in #redjanuary every month, but for me, not for Mind. I figured out a long time ago that moving my body is a good way to quiet my mind. Somehow, by getting out of my (incredibly noisy) head and into my body, I’m able to process difficult thoughts and feelings easier. Plus I just feel lighter and freer on the inside after exercising. Over the years I’ve been a crossfitter, a cyclist, practised Muay Thai, been a runner, done yoga, boxed, been a powerlifter, hill walked, swam, danced, walked briskly to/from work, and so on.

My best advice is try all of the moving things and stick with the one you love until it’s time to move on to the next. I’m even re-training as a Personal Trainer to help others help their own mind through moving. I promise, it helps!



Helene, with Muck (or Dory?)