We have been planning a wonderful holiday to Barcelona for many years. We were going to spend Christmas with lots of our friends and family on the beach. Many of us have not seen each other since we were kids. It meant so much to us all to be together for Christmas! Everyone was meeting for dinner, drinks and dancing by the beach, and at midnight the most amazing firework display.
By summer, everything had been planned and we were all excited about our trip to Barcelona. Unfortunately, a Global Crisis struck and affected everybody’s lives and plans. Now, at the end of August 2020, there are no flights abroad, ferries, coaches or any means of public transport to fulfill our trip. The only way to travel to Spain is on foot!!!!
To be able to make it for Christmas, we all have to travel the distance of 894 miles – the oldest, the youngest, the strongest and the weakest – absolutely everyone is determined to reach the beach in Barcelona to celebrate this wonderful Christmas.
Objective: To improve the mental and physical health of all participants.
This time we aim for at least 90% of the teams to reach Barcelona by Christmas Eve.
Where: From London (Enfield Town Park) to Barcelona Beach. Around 850 miles /1370 km.
When: Starting August 20th and aiming for all teams to arrive at Barcelona Beach by Christmas Eve (December 24th)
Entrance fee: £20/person.
Participants: Teams of Three people
- At least one member of the team must be able to ride a bike
- One member must be over 60 years of age
- Ideally, at least one member of the team should require special encouragement
- One very motivated member of the team (team leader)
The main purpose of this project is to encourage people to increase their average exercise level. Any improvement would be a success.
Team leader role
- The leader will be the main motivator of each team.
- The leader will regularly check that the other two members of the team are up to date uploading their journeys to their apps.
- If the team faces any problems and cannot continue the race for any particular reason, the leader will send us a message titled “S.O.S Major Incident”.
- If a team member requires support with the app, the leader should help to configure it on his/her mobile. If the team still has technical problems, the leader can contact us by sending a message titled “S.O.S Technology” and we will assist him/her to find a solution.
- Virtually walking (generating endorphins) from London to Barcelona. Around 894 miles / 1439 km.
- Some talking (releasing oxytocin). At least a few minutes of every walk should be spent socialising with friends, family or work colleagues – either in person or by phone/text.
- Outdoors (increasing Vitamin D levels). It is important to take in some fresh air (even in your terrace or garden) and as much Vitamin D as you can naturally whilst being outdoors.
This challenge aims to set up a healthy routine of aerobic exercise through walking and talking (don’t worry, sometimes a bit of running is allowed if you are far behind)
As we cannot walk through the English Channel, we have decided to add some spice to this adventure by asking you to cross the water in a pedal boat. This means that a small portion of the way should be completed by riding a bike by at least one team member.
Your team will receive an alert when you should be near the shore of Shakespeare Beach, Dover, (88.5 miles). At that point, you should stop walking until at least one of your members has pedaled on a bike (21 miles). Once this distance is covered you will arrive at Cap Gris Nez (109 miles), between Calais and Boulogne) and be allowed to resume walking.
How does it work?
We will virtually walk from London to Barcelona (894 miles/1439 km). All you have to do is press the button on your app to record every time you want to walk Outdoors for the Twalking Interestelar challenge and it will start counting. We can measure your distance by taking data via satellite from your favourite app: Apple Watch, Apple Health, Fitbit, Strava, Map My Run/Ride or RunKeeper, and more coming soon. The average outdoors walking per day should be around 2.3 miles/3.8 km per person (roughly one hour a day).
Some days you may decide to walk less because it is raining outside and you may want to compensate for it on a nicer day, or perhaps one of your teammates could do a longer distance whilst the least motivated one only walks 500 metres, for example. Every step you take will count towards the final outcome of your team.
You will be able to check where each team is virtually located on the map via satellite and follow every team’s progress. You will also be able to see other teams “walking”, using ‘Streetview’.
The ultimate goal is to finish the race, and not to win. Our aim is for at least 90% of the teams to arrive at Barcelona’s beach by Christmas Eve. We do not envisage this as a competition, but as a group of teams working together to become mentally and physically healthier as a society. So please, if you know participants from other teams, encourage them to keep walking and talking outdoors (an Interestelar Twalking!!) Healthy habits in adulthood can add more than a decade to your life and regularity is a key factor to stick to it. Interestelar challenges you to commit yourself to walk a short distance outdoors every day. If you do it, you will soon feel the magic!!!
A late start is possible if your team was not ready at the start date but you still want to join this challenge a bit later. Contact us, we will find a way to help you.
Worried about being stuck?
If you get stuck in the middle of the journey for any unavoidable reason, please send an “S.O.S Major Incident” message to our email telling what happened to your team and how many miles you need. We will put you in contact with the Rescue Team.
Interestelar Foundation is a charity that promotes voluntary work by health professionals and encourages them to create small projects aimed to improve the mental and physical health of the general population. This project is just one example, but to find out about other activities we have done in the past, please check our website
Interestelar’s ultimate goal is to create a new respite centre model for patients with severe chronic illnesses that take the wellbeing of carers at heart.
How can you help Interestelar world’s challenge?
- The most important thing is that if you like this challenge, please do join us for the Interestelar Twalking Challenge! We would love to help you to improve your physical and mental health, and of course, to help that of those around you.
- If you like the idea, and know someone (friends or family, work colleagues…) who can benefit from this challenge to improve their mental and physical health, please spread the word! The more teams we are, the healthier society will become!
- If you are committed to any charity and want to ask people to sponsor you or to fundraise for your cause, we will provide you with that option through the Justgiving page. You know that nothing is compulsory here, only to keep walking!! But if you would like Interestelar Charity to keep developing new activities and projects to improve the world’s global health, we will be grateful for your donation through our website.
Why should you participate in the Twalking Interestelar Project?
- Walking improves your mental and physical health. Whilst we are walking, our bodies release natural painkilling endorphins which reduce the risk of anxiety and depression and improve insomnia. Furthermore, some studies show that walking reduces the risk of dementia. Brisk walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Walking is good for your joints and muscles. Not only does it increase your range of motion, it also increases movement and compression, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the joints and cartilage. A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories! Weight loss will reduce the pressure added into your knees and hips. https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/physical-activity/walking/12-benefits-of-walking
- Talking improves your mental health when you are socialising – so socialise! Even if it is only for one minute, or just leave a caring voice message to your loved ones.
You may also choose to meet for a walk with your partner or friend or to have a virtual walk with a family member and talk in the distance, or even set up a specific time to walk and talk with your colleagues from work. If you care about others, your oxytocin levels will increase!
Low levels of oxytocin have been observed in patients who self-report regular high levels of pain, stress and depression. Socialising, laughing and proactive listening has proven to increase your oxytocin levels. As a result, oxytocin in our brain leads to more trusting and collaborative strategies at work. It motivates us to work together for a common purpose.
Oxitocin also contributes to raised levels of relaxation, trust, and psychological stability, whilst reducing stress responses, including anxiety. Oxitocin is an important component of a complex neurochemical system that allows the body to adapt to highly emotive situations. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-moral-molecule/201311/the-top-10-ways-boost-good-feelings
- Outdoors: Increase your “Sunshine Vitamin”
Vitamin D deficiency is a global public health issue faced by all age groups. Our body produces Vitamin D when natural sunlight is exposed to the skin. Exposure to sunlight in moderation and with adequate protection is a crucial element to improve our overall health. Not only does it help maintain healthy bones, it also has a positive impact on the quality of your sleep, reducing the risk of depression and seasonal affective disorder.
Exposure to sunlight carries beneficial effects against inflammation and correlates with lower blood pressure and improved brain function. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4018438/
Good luck to all teams!!
Àlex Martin (Interestelar.es)