You asked. We answered. We put our parkrunners’ most pressing questions to our team of experts including psychologists, orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists 

Q: How does running relieve stress?

A: Research has demonstrated that running can help with a certain type of brain function called neurogenesis. This is the process by which our brains create new neurons and make new connections. Studies have found that running at a gentle moderate pace promotes neurogenesis in the hippocampus and this has the effect of reducing stress.

If you’re a running beginner, start with a pace that feels right for you. This is important as increasing the intensity of your exercise too quickly can actually induce stress.

There is also evidence to suggest that regular exercise may have a preventative effect for degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Scott Trevithick, Clinical Psychologist, IPRS Health

Q: How can running help with depression?

A: Prolonged stress is becoming increasingly linked to the development of depression, and while depression has a number of strong contributing factors, including genetics, stress is something we can do something about. Running can actively battle the effects of stress with research suggesting just 21 minutes of exercise can have an effect.

Running can also give you a sense of mastery and control, of pride and self-confidence. Your renewed vigour and energy may have a significant effect on your mood and the discipline of regular exercise might inspire you to achieve other important lifestyle goals.

Scott Trevithick, Clinical Psychologist, IPRS Health

Q: Can running have an effect on my self-confidence and self-esteem?

A: A number of researchers have shown that running can reduce social isolation and increase interaction with peers.

Recent studies have also shown that exercising in natural green environments has a positive impact on self-esteem, so running outdoors may have a bigger impact on your confidence and enjoyment than running indoors.

Scott Trevithick, Clinical Psychologist, IPRS Health and and Ashley James, Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, IPRS Health


Want to learn more about good nutrition and running? Our experts have the answers

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