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Suffolk Mind boss Jon Neal takes on national running challenge R.E.D January

PUBLISHED: 21:02 20 December 2017 | UPDATED: 21:06 20 December 2017

Jon Neal, the chief executive of Suffolk Mind. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jon Neal, the chief executive of Suffolk Mind. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The chief executive of Suffolk Mind is dusting off his trainers this January to raise cash for charity and to promote the benefits of exercise for improving mental health.

Jon Neal is taking part in R.E.D. (Run Every Day) January, which means he will be pounding the pavements every day for the first month of 2018.

It’s a national campaign and the aim is to raise awareness and open up the conversation about mental health by promoting the positive power exercise can have on our minds and wellbeing.

In Suffolk, and across the UK, figures show one in four people will experience a mental health problem each year.

Mr Neal said: “Lots of people struggle during January because it’s dark, Christmas is over and the weather is often cold and rainy, so it’s not surprising that the term ‘Blue January’ has become common. But we want to turn that on its head. Let’s make January red, by running every day.

“A little exercise can be very helpful for staying mentally healthy. As well as producing endorphins in the body, which induce feelings of pleasure, aerobic exercise also burns off cortisol, which is a stress hormone.

“I’m going to run every day during January and I’m hoping to recruit some guest runners to film myself chatting to as we jog…slowly.

“I haven’t run since I used to catch the bus when I had a Saturday job as a teenager, so it’s going to be interesting to see how I get on running a little further each day. Who knows, perhaps by the end of January I’ll be a total convert.”

Mr Neal, who is collecting money for Suffolk Mind, will be completing a video diary of his progress throughout R.E.D January.

The charity boss is encouraging the people of Suffolk to follow his lead and join him in the exercise challenge.

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