Posted: Tue, 25 Jul 2023 15:00
No matter who you are, trying a new activity can be daunting, but it can be especially daunting when you live with a health condition.
We have joined forces with We Are Undefeatable to encourage people living with long term health conditions to give their local parkrun a go and join our friendly community getting active together.
We Are Undefeatable is a movement supporting people with a range of long-term health conditions, developed by 15 leading health and social care charities and backed by expertise, insight and significant National Lottery funding from Sport England.
Their purpose is to support and encourage people to find ways to be active that work for them and their health condition.
We have collaborated with them to share some helpful reminders ahead of your first time parkrunning!
1) Familiarise yourself with your local event
It's easy to find your closest parkrun using the finder tool and it takes only a few minutes to register your details. You'll then get issued a unique barcode that you scan each time you attend a parkrun.
Each parkrun event has its own page with details about what to expect, the start time, contact emails, and any event updates. Some even hold post event coffees, giving you the chance to meet new people and celebrate taking part!
Check out the route beforehand on the local event page so you are familiar with what to expect and find out information about the terrain. You might also see public facilities listed on the route or see if there are benches that you can rest at.
2) Participate how you want
Remember that parkrun isn't a race! It is about going at a pace that works for you – there is no time limit, and no one finishes 'last'. You can participate at a level that feels comfortable for you. Lots of attendees will be walking the route, so you won't be alone if you choose to walk.
It's important to listen to your body. If you feel like you need to stop to catch your breath or to stretch out any muscles, then it's better to stop, pause and then start again when you feel ready.
You can also take part by signing up to be a volunteer, with a number of roles available, and by spectating too!
Jonathan Giles credits his weekly parkrun, which started with parkwalking, for his recent speedy recovery from bowel cancer treatment and surgery, all while managing his type 1 diabetes.
3) Wear what you feel comfortable in
You don't need to be Lycra-clad to take part, and the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with what you are wearing and that it gives your body space to move. Wearing appropriate shoes or trainers is recommended and some people might feel comfortable in a sports bra too.
4) Speak to the friendly volunteers!
Remember that there are helpful parkrun volunteers there on the day. They are a friendly bunch and, most importantly, they are there to support YOU! So, if you are feeling unsure where to go, what to do, or have any questions they'll be happy to help.
5) Bring a friend
Bringing a family member or a friend with you can make you feel more confident and give you the extra motivation to attend. parkrun is all about getting like-minded people together to enjoy walking, jogging and running – it's always free so you can give it a try without commitment.
parkrun and We Are Undefeatable celebrate people getting their bodies moving in a way that works for them. For more tips on ways to build more activity into your routine visit their website.
(Source & Image: We Are Undefeatable)