Footwear brand KEEN has joined forces with the Mental Health Mates (MHM) network for a series of mass participation walks next month. The news coincides with the launch of KEEN’s new all-terrain walking shoe, the WK400.
The KEEN WK400 X MHM walks start in Bedford on April 8 and travel around England, with one date in Scotland and another in Northern Ireland, from April 8 to 30.
What is Mental Health Mates?
Mental Health Mates was founded by journalist and mental health campaigner Bryony Gordon in 2016. It forms a network of 150 peer support groups that meet regularly across the UK.
The aim is to provide a safe space to walk, connect and share without fear or judgement.
Led by regional volunteers, the walks provide an opportunity to connect with others and take preventative measures to improve mental wellbeing.
It is widely believed that walking can boost emotional wellbeing and ease chronic mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. There is a growing bank of research that evidences the benefits.
Walking with other people can further build on these benefits by providing positive social interactions that can combat loneliness, boost self-esteem and improve negative mood.
“We know, from personal experience, that mental illness magnifies through isolation," says Gordon. "So whether it is talking to someone, sharing with them or simply walking beside them, we believe that getting connected is the first steps to recovery.”
We're KEEN to get more people outdoors
Meanwhile, KEEN has pledged a mission to promote the benefits of spending time outdoors and to encourage people to do so. Part of the KEEN.Effect programme sets out the brand's global commitment to support initiatives and NPOs across the world that promote the positive impact of outdoor participation and champion inclusivity.
Join KEEN WK400 X MHM walks
The KEEN WK400 X MHM series of walks include:
- April 8: Bedford, Leeds, Pudsey (West Yorkshire)
- April 13: Newtownwards (Northern Ireland)
- April 15: Dundee (Scotland)
- April 17: Thurrock (Essex)
- April 23: Beverley (East Yorkshire), Bristol, Highams Park in London
- April 27: Hornsea (Yorkshire)
- April 30: Coventry.
All walks are free to join and open to anyone aged 18-plus. Participants are requested to register in advance by emailing email@example.com.
The KEEN WK400 x MHM Walk Series is being hosted with support of online retailer sportsshoes.com.
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Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favorite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing (both downhill and backcountry). Aside from her own adventures, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy getting outside and exploring, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.