Dorset Mind and Team Mind BMX have been working together for over five years to promote mental health awareness, using sport and physical activity to reach new audiences.
What is BMX?
BMX is a fast and furious adrenaline sport, but is truly accessible with public facilities available to use from pump tracks and skate parks to dedicated BMX race tracks. And with the success of Team GB at last year’s Olympic Games, its popularity has never been higher, with record numbers of new riders accessing the sport and racing at the highest level in the UK – it’s like the 1980s all over again!
What is Team Mind BMX?
Team Mind BMX was founded in 2015 by old school BMX racers who wanted to help raise awareness of mental health issues, especially in middle-aged men. Three times as many men as women die by suicide, and men aged 40-49 have the highest suicide rates in the UK. This is why the team’s founders, Andy and John, felt BMX was a great way of reaching this demographic – younger riders’ Dads, and old school BMXers who lived and breathed the sport all the way through the 1980s.
So how does BMX (or to be honest, any kind of bike riding!) help?
Well, it delivers all five ways to wellbeing!
Connect: BMX is a social sport, with a strong camaraderie amongst racers and parents. Team Mind has helped younger riders stay connected during lockdowns and stay mentally strong through the roughest of times such as injury and sporting disappointment, as well as helping riders to become more mentally resilient in achieving their dreams.
Be active: riding a bike is a great way to stay active, and even rediscover your youth! BMX has the added ingredients of adrenaline and aerobic activity. Team Mind is supporting a series of Old School BMX and Rad Dads events throughout the summer at Bournemouth BMX Track, helping people to renew old friendships, celebrate 40 years of BMX and become more active.
Take notice: you’ve really got to ‘be in the moment’ and concentrate when you’re riding a bike, especially off-road and even more-so on a BMX track! And being out and about in nature is a hugely rewarding part of riding your bike, discovering new places, paths and people. BMX is a great way of finding yourself.
Learn: challenge yourself to master new techniques, ride your bike safer/faster/smoother and even learn to wheelie or manual – age is no barrier! Setting goals is a great way of focusing and nailing a new move is hugely rewarding.
Give: join your local club and support events, learn to coach, lead local rides, raise awareness, support a fundraiser… the world is your oyster, outside is free and everything is better by bike.
Our Guest Blogger:
Huge thanks to our guest blogger John Twitchen from Team Mind BMX for his piece about the mental and physical benefits that can come from taking part in a social activity or sport such as BMX.
Dorset Mind offers group support that can also help with your wellbeing. The group offers peer support and helps to reduce stigma by normalizing conversations about mental health. You can also check out further support for stress and mental health here.
You can find out more about our Rad Dads sessions via the Team Mind and Bournemouth BMX Facebook pages.
Bournemouth BMX Club is hosting the British Championships this year over the August Bank Holiday weekend – find out more on the club’s website (bournemouthbmx.co.uk).