It’s June and that means it’s time for Canadian Mental Health Association‘s most important fundraiser of the year.
“It’s ‘Ride Don’t Hide’ all month long,” said Jessica Samuels, associate director, community engagement for CMHA Kelowna.
“It’s a national event that raises funds for critical mental health services and programs,” Samuels added.
Because physical activity in any shape or form has proven to be extremely beneficial to your mental health.
“We know that if you substitute 30 minutes of just sedentary behaviour with being active that has a huge impact on reducing anxiety,” said Dr. Ali McManus from UBC Okanagan.
“But in converse if you stay sedentary for that 30 minutes you actually heighten your depression,”.
Dr. McManus is part of the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC Okanagan and has studied the role of physical activity in children’s mental health.
“When you are active, expending energy, moving blood to the muscles, your brain releases these feel-good hormones, endorphins,” McManus explained.
According to McManus, the link between physical activity and improved mental health is actually a chemical one.
“It’s a natural type of cannabis, actually. It really does make you feel good and that lifts your mood, it reduces anxiety and helps your mental health,.”
“The other is the social interaction you get a lot of the time, even just walking the neighbourhood: somebody greets you, smiles and that lifts your mood,” McManus added.
And according to CHMA Kelowna’s executive director Shelagh Turner, that’s what ‘Ride Don’t Hide’ is all about.
“All month long you get to either ride or walk or run for mental health, for your own mental health and when you raise funds that supports mental health programming,” Turner explained.
“Participating in ‘Ride Don’t Hide’ is great for your physical and mental health, it’s a total win-win.”
“Anyone can register right now at ridedonthide.com/kelowna, it’s free to register,” Samuels said.
“That’s why we are encouraging people to get out and get active and improve their mental health,”.