Physical activity and mental wellbeing
Inactivity is a major issue in the UK, costing the NHS nearly £1 billion annually. With RED January, you can be part of the solution.
This challenge isn't about making empty New Year's resolutions that quickly fall by the wayside - it's about making lasting changes that benefit your wellbeing and your community.
Our Founder's story
I was inspired to start RED January after witnessing the transformative effect that regular physical activity had on my Mum, as she recovered from a period of severe depression.
I’ve always relied on physical activity to support my wellbeing, and I wondered if it could also help my Mum. I signed us both up to a walking marathon. Slowly and steadily, my Mum began getting out of the house each day to train. She started to see a change in her mood and energy and some of her symptoms lessened. The sense of achievement gained by setting a goal and seeing it through, along with the physical effects of regular physical activity, helped transform my mum’s approach to managing her mental health.
This got me thinking about what was out there for people like my Mum, who might need extra support to take on a physical challenge, and could benefit hugely from an inclusive event. We couldn’t find anything, particularly in the winter months, a time where evidence shows that as a nation we tend to be less active, experience low moods and increased depressive symptoms.
By providing a free event for all fitness abilities, we believed we could encourage people like my Mum to support their mental health by building movement into their daily lives. And with the combination of a physical activity challenge, plus the support of a wider online community, we aimed to create an initiative that not only helped people for one month of the year, but throughout their lives.
January seemed like the perfect month for the initiative, providing an opportunity to kick-start the year in a positive way. It’s a time when many of us are setting new goals, but are low on funds and motivation, with less social occasions to keep us connected. RED is an empowering colour for dark times, that could inspire those taking part to move every day, to beat the winter blues away.
Take part in RED January as an individual, and join our nationwide RED community.
Challenge your family, friends, sports club, or colleagues, and track your progress in a team leaderboard.
Want your whole organisation or company to take part as a nationwide team?
Can I connect my fitness app with my RED profile?
There are currently four fitness apps that connect with your RED January profile:
Fitbit, Strava, MapMyFitness and Garmin.
- Once you've logged in, go to 'My Account' at the top right of the page.
- Click on 'My Page'
- Click on 'Add Activity' from the middle option bar
- Click on the app you use, under the 'Connect your preferred fitness app' section.
- Follow the instructions from there. It will take you to that app’s page, where you'll need to log in.
How can physical activity help to support your mental health?
RED January is founded on research which demonstrates that regular physical activity can have a positive impact on your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Research from the Mental Health Foundation, shows that adults participating in daily physical activity are up to 30% lower risk of depression. And this Gov.uk research demonstrates the wide range of physical benefits movement can have.
Our own research with the University of Oxford, also showed that more than 50% of RED January participants experienced less stress and reduced signs of depressive symptoms, as a result of taking part in the challenge.*
*Data drawn from 3,049 registered RED January 2020 participants