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Spring has sprung! The days are lighter and brighter, and blossom is on the trees, so it’s a good time to get moving. Co-op is a proud partner of parkrun – 5k events that take place every Saturday morning around the world – and founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt gives us his tips for staying healthy, while building a community along the way.
Remember: while parkrun is currently on hiatus due to Coronavirus, if you can and are able to now is a great opportunity to get outside and start getting active, whether that’s walking, jogging or running – in preparation for when lockdown is over. Just be sure to follow government guidelines to keep yourself and others safe.
Great for your health
Exercising is a great way to destress and stay healthy in body and mind, while the social element of parkrun makes it a positive way to boost your mental wellbeing.
We make sure we encourage people who find it challenging, first-timers are often overwhelmed by the friendliness and support of others. Our event teams are made up of volunteers who want to help their communities; each and every one is compassionate and encouraging, making it easy for people to become part of the parkrun family. It’s a positive and inclusive experience – everyone is welcome and no one finishes last.
Form a community and use local spaces
Attending a parkrun or running independently is a great way to make use of your local area such as parks and other open spaces. Many local spaces are under threat so making use of them, and building a community around them, is vital to ensure their future.
Plus there’s nothing better than some fresh air and spending time getting to know your local community better. parkrun has a really big social element, whether you walk, jog, run or volunteer, you’ll make new friends and catch up with old ones. It’s a true family.
While in lockdown use social media to help build community around your activity. There are many parkrun groups you can find on Facebook to help connect with others or come and join us on Instagram for live Q&As.
Running makes you feels amazing – you’re moving your body, enjoying being outside and nourishing your mind with exercise. It’s important to keep those healthy vibes going after your parkrun is over, too. Try incorporating some healthy swaps into your diet, such as topping your breakfast porridge with fruit instead of sugar and snacking on vegetables and nuts. Check out my favourite recipes and tips here.
While we’re in lockdown my biggest advice would be to just keep moving. Get out for a solo run, a slow walk or even just a quick stroll around your garden whenever you can. Carve out time once a day and don’t compare yourself to other people – be proud of every bit of exercise you do. Stay strong, stay healthy, stay safe and be the best you can be.
Find out more about parkrun at parkrun.org.uk. parkruns are currently suspended due to COVID-19 – check the website for updates.