Mental Health

What is Minds in Motion Achieving?

Linking Physical & Mental Health
There is a strong link between physical and mental health. People who are active are more able to deal effectively with stress, depression and anxiety.

This link was documented through research studies in 2012-2013 on the impacts of Minds in Motion activities. Findings showed that participation in walking groups and the Walking Classic race have had overwhelmingly positive impacts across the board: contributing to mental health, strengthening a sense of community, and helping participants reach physical wellness goals.

Contributing to Mental Health
Participants in Minds in Motion activities describe walking as a catalyst that improves their perception of themselves and their environment. It also focuses their attention away from personal struggles and towards achievable daily goals, contributing to a sense of personal success and renewed purpose.

Creating Community
Many participants find the walks and races create welcoming social venues to connect with others and build lasting friendships, particularly among those who have fears or anxiety about talking with other people. This sense of community further increases motivation for participants to continue walking through the encouragement of their peers.

Reaching Physical Wellness Goals
Participants describe both the regular routine of the weekly walking group and training towards goal of the annual race as helping them to overcome a wide range of physical hurdles – from quitting smoking, to combatting obesity by dropping up to 80 pounds, to reducing the effects of diabetes.

Breaking Through the Stigma
Another goal of the Minds in Motion walk is to build understanding and a sense of community among all participants. Individuals experiencing mental health issues often feel alienated from their community. The Walking Classic helps to create a common sense of purpose and accomplishment and breaks down some of the stigma associated with mental illness.

Findings from research carried out in 2013 with family members and participants from the wider community indicate that Minds in Motion activities challenge the stereotypes and stigmas about mental health issues, both through its mission and fundraising goals, and through the personal contact and relationships developed with members of the mental health community.

 

“I used to have trouble with my ability to speak and I wasn’t comfortable talking with other people. It’s my ability to speak I’m practicing when I talk to the volunteers.”

— A participant