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RED JANUARY CALLS FOR REAL CHANGE, NOT NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS



Annual challenge that empowers the UK to move, responds to research suggesting a ‘movement declineof 1.8million adults over winter

  

RED January, the nationwide mental health and movement challenge, is on a mission. Recent Sport England research has shown a 4% decrease in adult participation in any type of activity during the winter months, compared to the summer months, resulting in a movement decline of 1.8 million participating adults. And RED (Rise Every Day) January, is calling for UK communities to come together to reverse this negative trend. 


Dr Brendon Stubbs, world-leading academic in mental health, physical activity and wellbeing at King’s College London, said; “Research consistently shows that small movement ‘snacks’ are associated with a reduced risk of many physical conditions and mental ill health, and RED’s focus on setting yourself a daily movement challenge that works for your lifestyle, has all the key evidence based ingredients to make a real difference. I would actively encourage everyone to sign-up to RED January!”


Hannah Beecham MBE, Founder of RED January, said; 

“The research is clear - daily movement that works for you and your lifestyle, can make a huge difference to your mental and physical wellbeing. More than half of participants who embrace the RED January challenge, experience a significant improvement in happiness and a reduction in anxiety during the month, with 74% reporting being more active than usual. We’re calling for the UK to start realistic movement habits in January that they can enjoy for the rest of the year, rather than falling for the new year’s resolution fad.”


This popular annual campaign empowers ‘REDers’ to set realistic movement habits that they can continue well into the year, and overcome barriers that currently lead to higher inactivity and lower wellbeing in the winter. In surveys, over 70% of the RED community said they were likely to continue the healthy physical activity habits that they formed in January if given support to do so. 


People set their own January challenge, or take part with a team of colleagues, friends, or family, as movement can be a catalyst for change, and being part of a team can inspire you to keep moving. RED January recently co-hosted a workplace event with partner, Decathlon UK, to encourage more businesses to adopt ‘movement breaks’ throughout the month. 


To keep people motivated on those more challenging days, RED teams and ‘REDers’ also fundraise for mental health and community projects, with over £3 million raised to date. In 2024, RED is partnering with both the National Academy for Social Prescribing (NASP), supporting local projects that people can access through social prescribing, and Mental Health UK, supporting specialist mental health advisors and online support group, Clic. Funds will also be raised for the Sport in Mind charity through a partnership with Decathlon UK. These are projects that know and understand the communities they work in, and can help to implement longer-lasting, more effective activities and behaviours.


Tom O’Connor, Head of Programmes at Mental Health UK, said;

"At Mental Health UK, we understand that a shared sense of belonging and feeling connected to others  has a huge impact on our mental health and wellbeing. That's why we deliver services like Clic, to provide people who may be feeling isolated and alone with  a safe, supportive online community that supports everyone's mental health. Thank you to the RED January community for your fundraising efforts. Together, we can challenge the causes of poor mental health and provide people with the tools they need to live their best possible life".


Tracey Lines, National Lead for Physical Activity for NASP, said;

“The organisations that REDers will help fund provide physical activity programmes – including mental health swim programmes, therapeutic walking groups and gardening – that people can be referred to by Social Prescribing Link Workers and other health professionals. There is a clear need for people to be able to access high quality physical activity provision within their community to support them to live healthy, active lives. These amazing projects need support more than ever.”


RED January builds on a growing body of research showing that regular physical activity can play a major role in supporting people with focus, motivation, sleep, self-esteem and overall wellbeing. Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said; “I can personally attest to the benefits of getting outside on a walk with my dog or playing football on the weekend. I am passionate about seeing more and more Londoners getting active, and it is initiatives like RED January that are providing vital motivation. This is especially needed in the current context, with worries about the cost-of-living crisis combined and the cold winter months dampening many people’s mental health and wellbeing. For this reason, this year’s RED January feels more important than ever”


Individuals and teams can sign up to take part in RED January for free, at join.redjanuary.com


The Global Social Prescribing Alliance is proud to be partnering with RED January.

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