Coastrek and Beyond Blue have announced a new charity partnership based on a series of celebrated coastal treks that inspire people to exercise in nature for the good of their mental health. Teams of four will take walks of varying distance along some of Australia’s coastlines, and every dollar raised by participants goes towards the Beyond Blue Support Service, which offers free counselling, referrals and advice to almost 200,000 contacts each year.

The treks are held annually in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide and participants can select 60 kilometre, 30 kilometre or, where offered, 15 kilometre treks. Beyond Blue Board Director Johanna Griggs said Coastrek was a great way to get back to nature. “Growing up on Sydney’s northern beaches, I’ve always loved being outdoors and heading to the coast is always a wonderful experience,” Griggs said. “I think that’s something a lot of Australians can relate to and Coastrek combines that love of walking along the coast with friends and supporting Beyond Blue.”

Research shows spending time in natural environments can improve psychological well being, stress responses, cognitive performance and social skills. The research referenced friluftsliv [free – loofts – liv], the Nordic connection between people and nature and the uplifting effect it can have on our mental and physical health. Coastrek Founding Director and women’s health expert Di Westaway said, “We’ve taken tens of thousands of Australian women into nature and there’s no doubt the experience makes them happier and healthier. Coastrek is a chance to be immersed in nature while challenging yourself with a team hike along scenic coastlines, high clifftops, beautiful bush trails and sunny sand. It lifts your mood and supports the fabulous work of Beyond Blue.”

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