Last year, Herts Mind Network started a wonderful partnership with the ‘Jog On’ group, who have been providing running and exercise classes since September 2015. We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with their founders Erica and Heather, to talk more about their fantastic group, as well as their passion for improving mental wellbeing through exercise.
Tell us about Jog On, when/how did it start?
We both met at another running club – the Hospice Running Club, which raises money for The Hospice of St Francis and became friends through that. We then thought it would be a good idea to start a ‘couch to 5k’ course back in September 2015 and raise even more funds for the hospice. It was a huge success! We then started another course and it just grew from there.
Covid made a huge difference, so many people decided to start running at the start of the pandemic. Around the same time, we started the remote gentle exercise class as well, where we raise money for Hertfordshire Mind Network.
What is the main aim of Jog On?
We always say “fun through fitness” – that is our motto! It’s also about giving back to charity. So a lot of our first time participants will approach the session thinking that if they don’t enjoy it, at least they have made a good contribution to charity (although they always enjoy it!).
We were surprised initially as we thought most people would get involved just for their physical health, but the mental wellbeing benefits are massive for our runners. They really value the chance to meet other people and get some fresh air. We’ve had all sorts of great examples, such as teenagers joining us to help with their anxiety.
Why did you choose to support Hertfordshire Mind Network with your fundraising efforts?
We know that people join us for as much their mental wellbeing as their physical health. It’s well documented the link between mental health and exercise, and we like to support local charities. It became particularly clear of this link during lockdown and just seemed such a natural progression to fundraise for Hertfordshire Mind Network.
So far you have raised nearly £3,000 for HMN – how have you managed to achieve this?
That has all been through our gentle exercise class. It runs twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday lunch times and costs just £3 per class, which is donated to Hertfordshire Mind Network. We think people feel very strongly that they want to support the charity, as well as do some regular exercise, with a sociable chat at the end. It helps that your charity is very well known and has a good reputation.
Have you spoken to your members about Hertfordshire Mind Network and the services that we offer?
Yes, we send them links to the Hertfordshire Mind Network website. The members who are from outside Hertfordshire are also aware that there are more local Minds as well.
What positive impact does being part of a group like Jog On have on your members wellbeing?
It’s huge, both physical and mental, as well as social. During lockdown, many members said they would be lost without their Jog On friends. It’s great that they have given each other that support network. That’s the lovely thing about running and exercise, you get to meet others from all walks of life. Some members have also said the exercise has helped them overcome problems like depression and anxiety.
How do you both manage your wellbeing?
We are both very outdoorsy! We love getting outside and laughing a lot. We like doing the trail walks in the countryside. We realise how much better you feel when you are in nature, no matter what the weather is like! We both have dogs as well, so that forces you to get out and do some exercise even when it is raining.
What is your favourite quote?
We love our motto of “fun through fitness” and we are both very much ‘live in the moment’ types of people. We also think it’s important not to take anything too seriously!
We would like to thank Erica and Heather for their time and also their brilliant on-going support to Hertfordshire Mind Network. If you are interested in getting involved with Jog On, please visit their website where you can sign up to their classes: https://www.jogonrunning.com/
If you are an individual, organisation or company and would like to fundraise for Hertfordshire Mind Network then please get in touch.