Who is stronger – people in Thatcham or people in Newbury?
Thatcham residents laid down the marker at a special event held in The Broadway on Saturday, designed to promote the link between physical fitness and mental health.
Lifestyle coach Sara Southey, of The Southey Way, has launched the #LiftYourMind campaign, where residents are challenged to lift everyday items from small tins of beans all the way up to heavy bags of shopping.
The total weights are then added up to work out whether Thatcham or Newbury is the stronger town.
Sara said: “Most people don’t realise how important it is to be strong for everyday living.
“Many people are put off by going to the gym and lifting intimidating weights, but we carry around everyday heavy objects all the time such as shopping bags without realising.
“Staying fit and active can have a positive benefit on your mental health and staying strong is important for our day-to-day lives.”
Research from The Royal College of Psychiatrists suggests that exercise has an effect on certain chemicals in the brain, and can impact a person’s mood or thinking.
Exercise also seems to reduce harmful changes in the brain caused by stress.
The challenge has been supported by mental health charity Mind, which also benefitted from fundraising on the day.
Thatcham’s mayor Ellen Crumly was one of those to give the challenge a go on Saturday.
She said: “It was good fun, and I could manage to lift them all, even the heavy suitcase.
“It was trying to show that physical fitness can help with mental problems, so Sara set up this game where the people of Thatcham were lifting weights and seeing how they were getting on before holding a similar event in Newbury.
“And Thatcham will definitely win, obviously!”
Newbury will get its chance to prove its strength when the challenge arrives in the town on April 22.