Former jockey Nina Carberry, Olympian David Gillick and exercise physiologist Dr. Brian Carson recently launched Vhi’s “More Than Running” campaign to highlight the various health benefits that participating au parkrun can bring to all its participants.
parkrun in partnership with Vhi is the largest community-led physical activity movement in Ireland and is open to everyone, regardless of age, ability or background. Anyone can come and participate as a walker, jogger, runner and also as a volunteer.
With events in all counties of Ireland, parkrun, in partnership with Vhi, takes place every Saturday morning at 9.30am in over 100 locations across the country and is free to attend. In Ireland, over 8,000 people take part every weekend, as walkers, joggers, runners and volunteers. Participants only need to register once on the parkrun website (parkrun.ie), bring their personal barcode that records their activity, and then show up for any event .
Less than half of Irish adults meet the recommended guidelines for physical activity (54% of men and only 38% of women). This decreases even more as we age, reaching 33% after age 65 and only 20% after age 75.
Dr Brian Carson, a lecturer at the University of Limerick and an exercise physiologist, says even minor changes to your routine can have a positive effect on your health and encourages people who have never done the experience of a parkrun to take the first step this summer.
Dr. Carson suggests that regardless of your current fitness level, even a small increase in the amount of physical activity you do can have multiple health benefits, with studies and scientific research offering the following reasons to be active:
Exercise has been shown to be beneficial in the treatment of 26 chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes as well as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
By limiting the time you spend sedentary (i.e. not moving) and replacing it with sufficient physical activity of any intensity, you can nearly halve your risk of cardiovascular disease. and reduce the risk of stroke by more than a quarter.
In a recent study of more than 60,000 parkrun participants, new participants who were previously inactive reported improvements in fitness, physical health, happiness, and mental health.
“Parkrun and physical activity have never been more important. Whether it’s your first time participating in parkrun, whether you’re volunteering, whether you’ve been to the park as a spectator, it’s all participation to us and that’s what it’s all about. No matter how you start, parkrun provides a regular opportunity for everyone to make a positive step in their life,” enthused Matt Shields, Parkrun Ireland Country Manager.