Colleagues at PureGym, the UK’s leading gym operator, are coming together as one team to take part in a week-long National Relay from Aberdeen to Plymouth.
By partnering with Mental Health UK, PureGym aims to use the event to raise awareness of the importance of physical exercise in managing mental health and raise £250k for the charity.
The PureGym National Relay will bring together over 1,500 colleagues across PureGym’s network of 235 plus gyms to take part in a seven-day, non-stop relay travelling from Aberdeen to Plymouth via all major UK cities.
The Relay comes as PureGym celebrates its ten-year anniversary this year.
The Relay will take place between June 18-25, with PureGym colleagues running, walking and cycling their way across the country. PureGym members are encouraged to support their local gym through fundraising activities, as well as cheering on the team as the Relay passes through their area.
PureGym Ambassador, Sir Chris Hoy, will also be taking part in the Relay, launching it on June 18 in Aberdeen, before joining the final stage of the Relay from Exeter to Plymouth on June 25.
More people are affected by mental illness in the UK than by cancer or heart disease. People with severe mental illness die on average 20 years earlier than the general population, largely owing to preventable physical health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
However, access to regular physical activity can serve as a vital prevention strategy for mental illness. People who do regular physical activity have up to a 30 per cent lower risk of depression, while finding they have improved moods, less symptoms of stress, and reduced levels of anxiety.
Humphrey Cobbold, PureGym CEO, said: “In just ten years we have grown from start up to market leader with gyms in every major city in the UK and over a million members exercising in a convenient and affordable way across our 230 plus gyms.
“We passionately believe in the benefits of regular exercise and remain totally committed to our mission of making gym membership more accessible. There is growing realisation that a healthy life is not just based around good physical health but more needs to be done to encourage people to take care of their mental health and exercise plays a vital role.
“We are absolutely delighted to be partnering with Mental Health UK. The work they do is invaluable, providing practical advice and information to people across the UK. The aim of this relay is to challenge and unite all PureGym colleagues in celebration of the work they do to make the UK healthier and raise money and awareness for a great cause.”
Brian Dow, Managing Director of Mental Health UK, said: “The inherent links between good physical and mental health is something that we should all consider in our lives. Even short bursts of light exercise can have a dramatic impact on our mental wellbeing, lifting our moods and making us more alert.
“We’re extremely thankful for the support of PureGym colleagues in helping to spread this message, and for their fundraising efforts. We’d like to wish them all the best of luck as they complete this difficult challenge.”
Fundraising has already started at PureGym locations across the country and a running total will be available on a dedicated website for the Relay available at https://www.puregym.com/relay/ . The website will also include regular updates, as well as a live route tracker, allowing people to follow the progress of the Relay in real time.