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.