Could Joining Your Local Parkrun Make You Happier and More Confident?

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At Podiatry.ie we’re always helping patients who want to lead an active, independent lifestyle free from pain, but sometimes the thought of stepping foot in the gym alone can be off-putting, or even the thought of having to switch an exercise DVD on to follow along with from your living room, can feel like a lot of effort and it’s far too easy to switch off 10 minutes in. Can you relate?…

If you’ve been wanting to find a new way to keep active, that involves exercising with others to help keep you motivated (and doesn’t involve a gym) it’s time to dust off your trainers – because a new study of 8,000 people found that those who run socially as part of ‘Parkrun’ are generally happier than the rest of the population.

Yep! You heard that right, running with a community of people can help you live a happier, healthier life (and you don’t even have to run for miles and miles!).

New research by Glasgow Caledonian University and Strava (a running and cycling app) found that 89% of people completing Parkrun feel that it has made them happier, with 80% saying the activity motivates them to exercise throughout the week.

If you’ve never heard of Parkrun before, here’s an overview of what it is – Parkrun is a nationwide free 5k run which takes place in local parks all across the Ireland every Saturday. There are several across Dulin and in Dundalk too just type Parkrun into Google and you’ll find it!

If you need more convincing that Parkrun may be the next best activity for you, here are 7 reasons to give it a go next weekend…

1. Studies say running can make you happier, here’s the science behind why

Physical exercise releases lots of feel-great chemicals in the body (also known as endorphins), these endorphins boost your mood and can protect your brain from stress too. So, if you take up running with the local community every weekend, you may dread Monday mornings less and get through your list of chores with less stress!

2. Running keeps the heart happy and healthy

We know that aerobic activity is good for the heart, so it’s no surprise that running can keep your heart happy and healthy. In general, the more people run, the healthier their hearts tend to be. But you can get big benefits without having to do a lot: running just five minutes per day could add years to your life!

3. Running can improve your mind at any age

It’s unpleasant, but it’s true, as we get older our brains get a little foggy. As ageing and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells, the brain actually shrinks, losing important brain functions in the process.

While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, movement can aid the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45.

4. Running can boost self-confidence

On a basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her self-worth. Plus it’s a great confidence boost when you join a community of people doing the same thing as you – you’re all in the same boat.

5. Running can help us get more done

Feeling lethargic and uninspired to get up and go? The solution might be just a short walk or jog away. Research shows that those who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than those who are more sedentary. So squeezing in a run before work, or as soon as you get up before getting into the busyness of the day may help keep you going!

6. You’ll meet new people

With thousands of park-runners every week, you’re bound to make new friends, and if you’re not naturally motivated to get moving, what better way to do it than with a group of people in the same position as you.

7. It’s on for 52 weeks of the year

With parkruns happening every single Saturday, you’ll have something to aim for each week, and something to keep you accountable if that’s how you stick to habits best – and, your fellow parkrunners can help keep you motivated in the colder months, too.

So what do you say, see you at Parkrun next weekend?…

P.S. If you’ve got foot or ankle pain that’s stopping you from keeping active right now (especially running), visit my website to download my free foot and leg pain tips guide to help you ease it: https://podiatry.ie/foot-leg-problems/

Or, call: 01 5394322 or 042 9334351 to request your free copy and we’ll send it to you

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