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Yoga and pilates aren't the only physical activities that can facilitate mindfulness. Adidas is pushing the notion of mindful running through its Run To Connect campaign, playing on people’s evolving relationship with exercise as they increasingly see it as a stress reliever. We explore the insights behind this and why sports brands are blending physical and emotional health in their communications.

To mark the release of its FocusBreatheIn apparel and footwear collection, Adidas is launching a campaign aimed at promoting running as a way of escaping everyday pressure. Created by TBWA\London, Run to Connect follows four people as they talk about how running helps them manage stress. The 60-second spot was released off the back of research finding that three in four people said they were unable to cope with stress in 2019. “I think being overwhelmed naturally occurs in everyone’s life,” says Ally Love, a global ambassador for Adidas, who features in the campaign. “Running was an avenue for me. It was a place that not only did I get away, but I was able to be present.”

Adidas reframes running as a mental health aid
Youtube | Adidas (2020) ©

People have traditionally been advised to exercise for the physical health benefits, but there’s a growing desire to participate in these activities for more holistic reasons – from social inclusivity to mental wellness. In fact, #mindfulrunning – the practice of being mentally connected and present when running – is gaining popularity, with Headspace offering guided meditations for running and Lululemon focusing on emotional performance just as much as physical performance with its Let Your Mind Run Free initiative.

This move to work out primarily for the mental benefits is perhaps more salient now than ever before. According to Gallup, feelings of worry, sadness, and stress in the UK have all risen since 2016. Meanwhile, between Brexit and global fear-mongering around the Coronavirus, a sense of anxiety is being perpetuated from all angles. Amid the instability in Britons’ lives, Adidas’ campaign serves as a useful reminder to Britons that exercise can be a helpful and readily available tool to boost their mental wellbeing.

Hannah Elderfield is a senior behavioural analyst at Canvas8. She oversees the Science Of series and has worked with global clients including Facebook, BelVita, Wagamama, the UK Government, the FCO, and Superbrands. Outside of work, she enjoys watching trashy TV shows, bunkering up at home, and adding half-read books to her bookshelf.


06 Feb 20
2 min read

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