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"Red January is a team goal but it is also an individual one"

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"Red January is a team goal but it is also an individual one"

Katie Light spent 12 months on the London Sport internship during her university studies at Brunel University in West London. Here she discusses why she, and her Ultimate Frisbee team, signed up to RED January to start 2020 with a bang.

Coming back to university after a year of full time work can be tough to find your feet again.

My first few months were rocky and we got to Christmas only to be met by January… 

January can be tough for many people for lots of different reasons, and it’s a well known fact that people’s mental health can take a tumble around this time. I’m no different.

That's why, this year, I decided as the president of Ultimate Frisbee at Brunel University to get our team involved in RED January, raising money for the charity Mind.

I thought this would be a great way for us all, as a team, to have a common goal and help lots of students benefit from the mental and physical benefits that physical activity can bring. 

I put it to my team and they were all on board with the idea, but wanted to use it as an extra physical challenge and put a 30-minute minimum requirement on each day's exercise to build fitness for the new season.

As much as this was a team goal, it is also an individual one as most days it would be solo training in order to fit the physical activity in. 

I started the year off with a New Years Day run which was tough after plenty of Christmas indulgences and a pre-existing knee injury.

This was when I realised I needed to plan my month better, like when I completed the London Marathon for London Sport back in April.

I set out a plan and a goal I wanted to achieve by the end of the month: I wanted to improve my knee strength and stability and get faster and stronger for the upcoming club season. 

The month started slowly and my body hurt, but I can happily say that by day 14 the effects are certainly starting to pay off.

The muscle soreness have decreased as I have learned how to better prepare my body and recover, and I’m enjoying the process a lot more.

So far, I've mixed up my month with runs, gym work, stretching and strengthening exercises, weights and, of course, Ultimate Frisbee training. 

Some have been alone but others have been with friends, bringing great social benefits too. 

The gym is still a new and slightly daunting place for me and so I’ve enjoyed learning new exercises and gaining more confidence each time I set foot in the gym. 

Getting up and training is feeling less and less of a chore each day and I’m enjoying this new routine and habit coming into my lifestyle. 

It sets me up for the day and has started regulating my sleeping and eating patterns again - both can be major problems for students.

I'm basically half way through January now and expect many more sessions to follow well beyond the end of this month thanks to my new routine.

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London Sport aims to ensure Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity

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London Sport aims to ensure more Londoners live happier, healthier lives through sport and physical activity. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, our target is to get Londoners more physically active.

For more information on London Sport, visit www.londonsport.org

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