Walk, jog, run, volunteer…

On 9 June, NHS England, NHS Improvement and parkrun UK will be encouraging health and care staff across the country to walk, jog, run, and volunteer to celebrate the NHS’s 70th birthday and to help people get more active. Pritti Mehta explains more.

As health and care staff, we have a vital role to play in supporting self-care and building our own health and wellbeing.

We need to walk the walk and by giving a little care to ourselves we can also care for each other.

That’s why I now run. It helps me ‘reset’, look after my mental health and manage my strong family history of diabetes.  I also learnt an amazing fact recently, that jogging helps to build new nerve cells in the brain.  More reasons to run!

I joined Woodhouse Moor parkrun in August 2017 and have run and volunteered most Saturdays since.  In fact my weekend starts with a parkrun.

Although my introduction to running was before parkrun, it is my parkrun ‘family’ who now encourage me every week, give me peer support and help me believe in myself. It is through the 5K parkrun events that I then went on to do my first 10K and then my first half-marathon, the Leeds half-marathon, this May, raising nearly £700 for a local charity, Simon on the Streets.

In terms of volunteering, I have had a range of roles – from ‘marshalling’, ‘back-up timer’, ‘randoms’, ‘finish token support’, ‘first time briefing’ and a junior parkrun warm up!  I’ve picked up a whole new language and skills!  Volunteering gives me such joy and the opportunity to lift a few souls, including my own, on a Saturday morning.

Parkrun is a great way to build health, happiness and community. It is a perfect example of the renewable and positive energy that can be created by people helping themselves and each other.

Through its simple and scalable model, parkrun has become a global health and wellbeing movement. Hundreds of thousands of people get together to walk, jog, run and volunteer each week.

And it is strongly aligned with NHS England’s comprehensive model for personalised care, which aims to empower people to have greater control of their own health and wellbeing, through shared decision making and choice, social prescribing and support for self-management (patient activation), and personalised care and support planning and personal heath budgets.

So why don’t you give parkrun a try on 9 June. You can walk, jog, run or volunteer. Join the movement! Join the family!

NHS70 parkrun, which was launched by the double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes, will see more than 250 local parkruns host special NHS-themed events.

Pritti Mehta

Pritti Mehta is Head of Personalised Care for the North region, working with Integrated Care Systems and Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships to support the delivery of personalised care, empowering people and communities to take greater responsibility and control of their own health and wellbeing.

Pritti is passionate about systems leadership, self-care, diversity and inclusion. She believes in walking the walk!

Pritti joined NHS England in 2013 and has worked across strategy and delivery. She supported the development of the Five Year Froward View and led the commissioning of the Realising the Value programme, setting the national agenda and context for self-care. More recently, she led the Empowering People and Communities Workstream of the New Care Models programme, where her team worked intensively with 15 new care models to support the implementation and spread of self-care.

Pritti’s also a recent graduate of the Nye Bevan leadership programme for aspiring directors and is part of the NHS England’s Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Group talent management programme.

Pritti has 12 years’ experience in the voluntary sector, across RNIB, Action on Hearing Loss and Genetic Alliance UK, where she led and supported the development and delivery of national strategies to improve health and care services and support for a range of groups.

Pritti is a scientist by background, holding a Ph.D. and post-doctoral training in Developmental and Molecular Genetics.

Follow Pritti @pritti_mehta


  1. Kassander says:

    ” I also learnt an amazing fact recently, that jogging helps to build new nerve cells in the brain.”
    It would have added greatly to the validity of this claim if you had given a reference to your source.
    I did a thorough search for some authenticating peer-reviewed research findings.
    All I could find was some tentative results from work with rats in Finland.
    Some ran in wheels, whilst others had weights tied to their tails before they climbed up ladders.
    Similar experiments had not been tried with humans.

    • Kassander says:

      “Pritti … believes in walking the walk!”

      Doesn’t “believe” in replying to messages left on her Blogs.

      Her Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor any comment from Public and Patients shall lure her back to answer a single one.

      Poor show, Dr Mehta.

  2. Dilip mehta says:

    I am very much impressed the work you are doing wish you well.