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Tai Chi sessions held as part of mental health campaign

PUBLISHED: 18:02 23 January 2019

Tai Chi sessions being run at Quay Place as part of Suffolk Mind's Red January campaign.   Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Tai Chi sessions being run at Quay Place as part of Suffolk Mind's Red January campaign. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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Martial art sessions have been launched on Ipswich Waterfront as part of a mental health campaign.

Suffolk Mind have partnered with the Red January community initiative, encouraging people to use fitness as a way of combating mental health conditions.

The campaign has seen many sporting classes and events introduced across the county, with one being tai chi lessons at Quay Place on Ipswich Waterfront.

Free classes have been held their every Wednesday from 12.30am-1.30pm, with people coming in to bat away the blues.

David Patrick has been doing the discipline for 25 years and leads the classes.

Suffolk Mind's Red January campaign is encouraging people to be more active Picture: RACHEL EDGESuffolk Mind's Red January campaign is encouraging people to be more active Picture: RACHEL EDGE

He said: “I think it is the combination of movement and exercise in tai chi that appealed to me.

“In terms of mental health I’m quite sure that tai chi has helped, the whole thing is based on a complicated philosophy called tao te ching and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

“TCM is controversial at times but in terms of depression it always prescribed a healthy lifestyle and exercise, that’s something the west is now catching up to.”

The Red January campaign is based on research showing that physical activity can have a positive impact on mental health.

After completing 2018’s Red January, 87 per cent of people taking part said they felt significantly better physically and mentally.

Suffolk Mind hope that this feeling can continue with their 2019 campaign.

This year Suffolk Mind have put on several classes including tennis, clubbercise and tai chi.

Kristina Brinkley of Suffolk Mind has taken part in several Red January events.

She said: “You can do five to 25 minutes of exercise a day, run 5km or take on a marathon - it doesn’t really matter as long as you are trying to be more active to help improve your mental health.

“January is characteristically a hard month, Christmas has just ended, we have short days and long nights, it can be tough.

“With this scheme we hope to get rid of the blues and hopefully people can continue their activities once January is over.”

The tai chi classes run each Wednesday at Quay Place on Key Street, until January 30.

The sessions are free and pre-booking is not required.

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