I look around the group 10 hours into the Merrell x Mind hike around the Isle of Arran expecting to see everyone trudging onwards with their heads down, but what I see are smiling faces; cheerfulness in the face of adversity.
This is a 24-hour hike around the edge of the island to raise money for the mental health charity. Each and every person taking part in the event has their own different story about why they are raising money for this great cause, but they’re all united by the mission to complete the trek.
“Walking is one of the best ways to get started with outdoor activity.”
In the UK, 16.5 million people will confront a mental health issue each year and only 25% of these people will receive support. Mind is an organisation that is leading the way in providing support and advice for people with mental health problems and empowering them to come forward to seek help. They’ve also been giving people the opportunity to help others around them that might be suffering in silence.
There’s no denying that getting outside and into the great outdoors is one of the best things you can do to improve your mental and physical health. In fact, regular exercise is proven to have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and more; relieving, stress, improving your cognitive functions and lifting your overall mood.
And you don’t need to be super fit either. Walking is one of the best ways to get started with outdoor activity as it’s as inclusive as it gets – you need very little kit and you can step right outside your front door.
The Mind Hike is an amazing challenge to take on and is a real adventure in itself. Just getting to the start line requires hours of training, fundraising and a huge amount of perseverance. The aim is to walk for 24 hours, helping your teammates around you to push on and to overcome the task together. The distance is irrelevant – everyone does what they can.