#LiftWeightdonate – The 2021 Challenge to lift the nations spirits

We’re very aware here at Sporting Minds UK, that lockdown and the pandemic has not only impacted the mental health of the young sportspeople we are in contact with on a daily basis, but millions of people across the wider UK.

Research released today by the UK’s biggest fitness and sports retailer, Sports Direct, has revealed that over half (58%) of young people between 18 and 24 years old feel that their mental health has deteriorated during the third national lockdown. With just under half (48%) of young people reporting that exercise in any form has the ability to lift their mood and enhance their outlook on life – and with over a third (36%) finding that exercise helps them to feel more mentally resilient, it’s clear that in many cases, physical exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on the mind.

To encourage us all to share what’s weighing on our mind and come together to help shed awareness on mental health, Sports Direct has launched its uplifting weightlifting movement, #LiftWeightDonate. Participants are challenged to post a video of themselves doing weighted reps alongside sharing with their followers what’s been weighing them down.

Dr Alex George, the UK’s newly appointed Youth Mental Health Ambassador and Lady Leshurr, everyone’s favourite Dancing on Ice star, have kicked off the challenge by sharing what’s been weighing on their minds this lockdown, and we’re delighted those taking part in the movement are being encouraged to donate their reps to Sporting Minds UK.

Getting involved in the #LiftWeightDonate challenge is easy:
1. Share a video of you doing weighted reps with your Instagram or TikTok followers
2. Include a caption of what’s weighing on your mind – don’t forget to tag @SportsDirectUK on
Instagram and @SportsDirect on TikTok
3. Donate those reps in £ to @SportingMindsUK Sporting Minds UK at Just Giving
4. Tag friends to get involved too!

Dr Alex George said: “Mental health must be made an absolute priority and we have to do everything within our power to bring meaningful support to young people. Last year was by far the toughest year for me with the loss of my brother to suicide and I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. Fitness has been one of my saving graces and while admittedly there are occasions that I struggle to find the motivation or time to exercise, the feeling after a good workout is incomparable and my head feels totally cleared from any built-up of negativity or worries. Sports Direct’s #LiftWeightDonate campaign is a brilliant way to encourage the nation to not only open up about what’s weighing them down, no matter how big or small it may feel, but it’s also a brilliant chance to move your body and donate what you can to a charity providing vital support.”

Lady Leshurr, Musician and mental health advocate said: “Having a career that consists of travelling and performing around the country has made my life challenging during this pandemic. I have had to navigate throughout by experimenting and trying new things. Not being able to see my family or friends, people losing jobs, the death toll rising, the strain to the NHS – it’s all been a whirlwind of mental burden. Dancing on Ice has tested my strength both physically and mentally beyond anything I’ve experienced before. After every session, I know the work out is helping me to balance my mind and channel my worries into something that makes me feel great. I challenge you to get involved in Sports Direct’s #LiftWeightDonate movement with me and let’s relieve ourselves of the weight of the pandemic!”

Almost half of young people (48%) reported that they’d like to see more media awareness around helplines and charities available to provide support for those suffering with their mental health and a significant 47% wanted to see more support networks for young people. So now more than ever, the work undertaken by charities, such as ourselves, is vital in providing key resources and support for those in need.

Beckie Stanion, Chief Marketing Officer at Sports Direct said: “After a year of endless uncertainty, it’s no surprise that mental health has taken a nosedive. Fitness is an accessible, proven route for boosting mental wellbeing, so we should all try to get our bodies moving. At Sports Direct we believe in the power of sport to champion the legend in everyone, so we’re thrilled to be supporting the mental health of young athletes in partnership with Sporting Minds UK. Whether you’re a sporting pro or you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, get involved in the #LiftWeightDonate challenge and lift the weight of the pandemic from your shoulders, all for a brilliant cause.”

Callum Lea, our Founder said: “We’re thrilled to be the partner charity for Sports Direct’s #LiftWeightDonate challenge, raising awareness for the importance of physical exercise in improving mental health and wellbeing. Exercise can reduce anxiety, depression and boost mood so now in our third national lockdown, it’s more imperative than ever to get moving. Those involved in the #LiftWeightDonate challenge will not only be improving their own physical and mental health, but they will also be a part of something really special, helping to raise truly vital funds in support of young athletes.”

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