I’ve been teasing this for like, a week now. The rumours are true; I, Hannah Grace Van-de-Peer, will be swallowing my pride, adopting the inevitable cycle short (I think not!) and braving RED January.
COOL! …WHAT’S RED JANUARY?
RED January is a campaign created by RED Together in association with Mind UK. The whole idea is to get active every day in the January’s entirety. All in the name of mental health. Believe it or not, RED January isn’t as dark, or as violent as it sounds. RED simply stands for Run Every Day. Now, if you’re anything like me and the only comfortable way you can envision yourself running is when you’re trying to get the last strawberry-glazed doughnut before Krispy Kreme shuts… Never fear! You don’t need to run, just get active however you see fit! It could be Zumba, Street Dance, Boxercise, Wii Fit (retro), Hiking, Swimming, Gymming… The world is your oyster! Have fun with it!
I GET IT… BUT WHAT DOES EXERCISE HAVE TO DO WITH MENTAL HEALTH?
Okay, so this is the sciency bit. Everyone knows the physical benefits of taking exercise every day; you lose weight, you get hench, your cholesterol lowers along with your blood pressure, your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes decreases, among many more. But exercise does, in fact, have a positive effect on the mind as well!
Take anxiety disorders, for instance. When someone experiences a panic, or anxiety attack, a chemical known as Cortisol is released into the brain and body. Now, Cortisol isn’t meant to be inherently bad for you. At least, not in other situations. Any activity which causes Adrenaline to be released also causes the release of Cortisol. So… exercise, sex, bungee jumping… The thing is, because we’re doing physical activity while the Cortisol is being released, we’re using it up. Physical activity causes the chemical to leave the body.
With Anxiety, however, the outcome could be quite different. I don’t know about you, but when I suffer a severe panic attack, the very last thing I feel like doing is running several laps round the block. People often feel drained, emotional, tired… We want to stay indoors for the next few days playing Sims 4 and eating our feels. So, where does the Cortisol go?
The fact is, it doesn’t actually go anywhere. It stays in the body.
YIKES! WHAT HAPPENS THEN?
Short term? The symptoms of Anxiety may get worse, and they certainly won’t subside without the aid of physical activity. Long term? Cortisol is known to become toxic if it stays in the body long term. This then leads to diseases such as Hepatitis B. Grim.
SO, THE GOOD NEWS IS
It’s dead easy to get that ugly binch Cortisol out of your system. Just take exercise. Not only will your body feel better for it, but your mind will too!
WHERE DO I SIGN UP?
You could start exercising tomorrow if you wanted to. You don’t need to join a campaign in order to feel the encouragement! This is me, cheering you on! If you want to sign up for RED January, however, you can do so here.
I WANT TO HELP FINANCIALLY! IS THERE ANYWHERE I CAN DONATE?
Yes! You can donate to Mind on their website. Alternatively, I’ve set up my own GoFundMe for my personal RED January journey, with 100% of the proceeds going to Mind. Donations, however small, would be wonderful and highly appreciated. You can do so here!