‘Parkrun’ your new favourite fitness craze!

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It’s held in high regard that doing any form of physical activity is extremely beneficial as a means of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as well as coping with the inevitable stresses that persist within daily life. This is often most true among students, with end-of-term deadlines fast approaching whilst at the same time coping with the demands of the reading lists.

Running is a great way to relieve stress and make you feel good about yourself. Admittedly, however, it can be hard to motivate yourself to lace up your running shoes in these cold, dark, winter months. Thus, a great way to get involved is by participating in a great initiative called `Parkrun`. This was set up some 13 years ago with the aim of increasing involvement in physical activity, whether it be running, jogging or walking. They take place in parks all over the country and have proved to be immensely popular, not just with increasing fitness, but also with meeting new people and enjoying exercise in a fun and non-competitive atmosphere.

The closest Parkrun for Lancaster is at Williamson Park. They take place at 9am every Saturday, thus is a great way to start the day and enjoy a well-earned coffee afterwards. There have been many inspirational stories that have come from parkrun and it encompasses those that do have a competitive edge and look to set course records, those who never thought that they could run, to those that simply want to lose weight.

It would be great to encourage more students to look into getting involved and discover if they see the benefits that exercise brings. If you are unsure of whether to go on your own or not, the Lancaster University Running club make regular appearances to the parkrun at Williamson Park, so it could be beneficial to join the running club and train with like-minded people. Similarly, they may be looking to either develop their running ability through competitive racing, or simply enjoy an activity that brings with it enjoyment and stress relief from external demands in University life.

If this has tempted you to get your running shoes on and increase your fitness levels, all you have to do is go onto the parkrun website which gives details of your nearest parkrun and were to meet. Form this, you will need to print off some Parkrun barcodes: this is an imperative because once you have finished the run, you hand your barcode to one of the volunteers ready to be scanned so that you can view your time and statistics on the website. It’s also key to stress that parkrun is comprised of volunteers. Without them, the event can’t take place. Therefore, if you’re not keen on participating on a particular week, it may be of consideration to volunteer and give something back to such a great initiative!

Hopefully this has convinced you on how you could be proactive on a Saturday morning. Finally, it is rumoured to be a fantastic hangover cure, so what more reason do you need!

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