It’s traditionally a time of year when food, drink and parties start to dominate social life … but a group is hoping to encourage Shetlanders to get active every day over the festive period.
And the Shetland Streakers hope they will raise money for charity at the same time.
The group started small two years ago on Facebook supporting folk to run a mile a day over the Christmas holidays. Now with almost 700 members and word of the 2014 Streak spreading, group founder Kerry Geddes said she thought it was time to take advantage of its popularity, and use it to raise some charity money.
All proceeds from the sale of a Festive Streak T-shirt will be going to blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan.
Mrs Geddes said: “I also wanted to let people know that although a traditional streak is running a mile a day, we say that any activity counts, and you can mix it up, with swimming one day, walking the next and then maybe an exercise DVD or class. It really is suitable for all ages and abilities.”
People can sign up in the Facebook group but Mrs Geddes said group membership is not required to participate.
She said: “I’d definitely recommend joining the group as everyone is so supportive and it can be very motivational seeing what everyone else is doing, but you can do it completely separately from the streakers’ group – on your own, with work colleagues, in your family. Just say you’ll do it and you’re in.
“All you need to do is complete at least 15 minutes of exercise every day until New Year’s Eve. The group tries to encourage exercise of any kind as we’ve all realised how good it is for you both mentally and physically.”
Mrs Geddes said: “I’m also hoping that in addition to purchasing a T-shirt, people will do some fund-raising or raise sponsorship on their own, so that we see a good final total.”
For anyone thinking of taking part, Mrs Geddes said planning is key. “It’s not about having time, if you want to do it you will make time.
“Fifteen minutes is just over one per cent of your day, hardly anything compared to the time we waste on our computers, watching TV, or avoiding housework. The first few weeks are hard but it soon becomes a habit, just like brushing your teeth, and you will start to notice the mental and physical benefits regular exercise can have for you, which in turn will keep you motivated. Then you’ll want to do more than your minimum 15 minutes.
“I would say start off small, just in case spaegie sidelines you, make sure you wear lights and reflective clothing if exercising outside, and make sure you tell as many folk as possible so you are less likely to miss a day.”
The 2014 streak kicked off yesterday – American Thanksgiving – and will be going for 35 days in total, finishing on New Year’s Eve with a mile at the Clickimin track for those who can make it.