Mental health is taking a front seat as a group of cyclists move towards a stronger relationship with God.

"There are so many components to mental health because we're so integrated as human beings. It's not just one thing. But physical activity and getting outside are huge in terms of improving our mental health," says Terry Warburton, Clinical director of Recovery of Hope Winnipeg. 

She explains that improving the state of one's mental health can be as simple as going for a walk or taking a bike ride. 

"It really does help us to get outside and move our bodies, it's been studied. We hear the expression 'runners high' and there's a reason for that. When we exercise, it improves our sense of well-being. That natural high comes from the feel-good brain chemicals."

People's bodies were made to move, according to Warburton, and this moves regular exercise helps people physically as well as mentally. 

"With the constant changes we've all been dealing with, the extra stress [from COVID], everybody is feeling it. It's taken its toll on all of us in different ways. What I've found is people are not necessarily coming for counselling, they don't say it's COVID related, but when you look at the big picture, it's a big piece that many people are struggling with."

For people who are struggling with anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, finding hope can be difficult. 

"We need other human beings in order to feel hopeful. When we have a faith in God, that relationship also brings us hope. Hope and healing are found in the context of relationship."

The counselling service is putting on a fundraising event to help cover the costs of counselling for families who can't afford it. The event is called Ride for Recovery and it is a bike ride event happening on September 25. 

"It's the second annual Ride for Recovery and we are very excited about this event. If you like to be outside and ride your bike, this is the event for you. Registration starts at 8:30 am at Bethel Mennonite Church on Harrow Ave. The ride starts at 9:00."

It's an event for the whole family, as some participants are choosing to bike while pulling trailers behind with their children in tow. There are also different lengths for differing skill levels.