THE BENEFITS OF JOINING A RUN CLUB
Each week dedicated runners take to the streets of the UK with a local running club to improve their running in a friendly and supportive environment. There are many benefits of joining a running club…
If you’ve moved to a new area and want to meet like-minded people or you just want to be social, Running clubs are a one of the best ways to do it. With time to chat along the route you might even end up enjoying a post run drink with your fellow runners.
If you’re struggling with your training or you’re looking for a pat on the back after a good one, running with a Run Club will give you all the support and encouragement you need.
Running on your own can feel a little uneasy, especially if it’s in the dark or through poorly lit streets; running with a run club will give you that extra security.
Not all run clubs have coaches on hand but if you’re looking for some training advice from experienced runners our staff members are happy to help.
COMPETITIVE OR NOT
Not everyone who runs in a Run Club is looking for competition but if you thrive with a little rivalry then you could find your
Running is a great way to get a little solitude but sometimes it helps having someone to chat to and cheer you on when you’re finding it difficult.
Mixing up your running routes helps keep things interesting and who better to help you discover new places to run than passionate runners who know the area.
BENEFITS OF GOING TO A PARKRUN
1. It will give you a (scientifically-proven) buzz
In a 2018 study by Glasgow Caledonian University, 89% of parkrunners said taking part every week made them feel happier, and boosted their mental health and body image. “Every Saturday morning there’s a real buzz – the atmosphere is great!” says Graeme Collard, 39, a delivery driver in Brighton, who has been a parkrunner for three years. He says the support, sense of community and personal achievement keep him coming back each week.
2. It could add years to your life
The Royal College of General Practitioners has just launched an initiative to prescribe parkrun to patients. The aim is to help inactive people get moving or move off lifelong medication for conditions such as diabetes. GPs who have already prescribed parkrun say that it has helped their patients with anxiety, depression, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, in addition to reducing the cost of long-term medication to the NHS.
3. It connects you to a community
“parkrun actually began as a social intervention,” says Chrissie Wellington, former triathlete and global head of health and wellbeing for parkrun. “The founder, Paul Sinton-Hewitt, was a runner but was injured and missed seeing his friends. He set up parkrun as a way of staying in touch, and that social aspect continues today – you can come and feel part of something special.” And it’s all proven by new research published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, which found that working out with others significantly reduces stress and improves our quality of life.
4. It can keep the whole family fit
It’s never too early to get your kids into exercise: a long-term Swedish study shows that childhood exercise has a protective effect on our health as adults, including boosting your brainpower. Hannah Doyle, 41, a parkrunner since the event launched, says, “When my eight-year-old was younger, I’d jog round junior parkruns with him, but now he can easily keep up with me! Lots of friends have run while pregnant, and then with their baby in a running buggy. parkrun is for all generations in your family – even the dogs.”
5. You don’t need to run to reap the benefits
The volunteering aspect of parkrun is vital, as the whole event is co-ordinated by volunteers – from marshalling runners to organising the finish funnel. And as research by the University of Exeter proves, volunteering can increase life satisfaction, lower levels of depression and help you live longer. “The health benefits of volunteering are huge,” says Wellington. “Thousands of people volunteer at parkrun each week and it still enables people to be active in the open air and helps build confidence and self-esteem.”
6. It connects you to nature
There is a wealth of evidence to prove that exercising outdoors in green spaces has numerous health benefits. It’s good for our mental health, we feel more social and it can boost our general feelings of vitality. “It’s great being outside in nature, and interacting more with the environment you’re in,” says Collard. And as more of us are looking for effective ways to exercise for less; parkrun guarantees it will be free, every week, for everyone, forever.
7. It enhances the effects of endorphins
parkrun may even boost the effects of endorphins, the brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals. “We produce endorphins taking part in physical activity, when we see friends, when we build new relationships, and when we have a sense of belonging to a community. parkrun taps into all of that,” says Wellington.
If you’re a Vitality health insurance, life insurance or investments member, you can earn eight Vitality points every time you run a parkrun, and five points every time you volunteer. So, what are you doing this Saturday morning? We’ll see you at 9am on the start line.