Mental health problems range from the worries we all experience as part of everyday life to serious long-term conditions. The months of lockdown have had a huge impact on us all, we thought it would be good to have an open conversation ahead of World Mental Health Day 2023.
As we know exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Running and other forms of vigorous exercise does provide a number of mental health benefits, and as little as 10 minutes of regular exercise a day can help alleviate depression.
That's why this year we want to bring everyone together to mark the day, and talk about how running has helped with mental wellbeing;
“I've navigated some real darkness in my battles with mental health problems in the past, but I've found running has been crucial to my perseverance and recovery. Running gives me a clarity and space I often can't find in the rest of the busy world. It helps me feel free and alive, gives me a space to process and time away from normality. I've found that running through dark times has led to the 'light at the end of the tunnel' feeling much closer and more in reach. It's been a hard journey over the last couple of years but running has also helped me remember just how tough I can be when things get dark. Every journey starts with a single step and that is true not only of my journey from couch to ultrarunner but also my journey through depression to a life lived in much greater light.”
Fiona English, Runderwear Ambassador
“It is not so much the pounding of pavements itself that helped me with my mental health, but the connection it brought. Running forced me to listen to my body and become reconnected with what it needs (mostly carbs!), but more importantly it helped me become reconnected with other people. Depression had seeped into my social interactions, and I quite happily accepted the lie it told me that I was completely on my own. Creating Run Talk Run was the first step in discovering understanding from others in a similar position to myself, and running with this community opened up a far less intimidating vehicle for being honest about how I was really feeling. Moving forward lowers my inhibitions enough to talk more freely about my darker thoughts, and I'm grateful for that.”
Jessica Robson, Founder - Run Talk Run
“Let me start off by saying running is not always fun, it’s not always easy but one thing for certain is that you ALWAYS thank yourself afterwards for getting it done. Often the runs that feel the best are those ones you were dreading and unsure of doing. Apart from the physical benefits running brings to you, it also provides huge mental benefits too. This is more important now than ever before given the current pandemic. I’ve outlined below some of the benefits I find from running with hopefully you can relate to some of the points too;
- It’s a great way to keep active (staying home the whole day can make you lethargic).
- It clears the mind.
- You can do it in your own space and time.
- Enhances productivity.
- Decreases symptoms of depression.
- Alleviates anxiety.
- Helps you sleep better at night.
- Boost self-esteem.
- Most important it release those much-needed endorphins.
Running is a gift and if you’re lucky enough to have the ability to do it, be grateful and embrace it. Like I said, it’s not always easy, but one thing I can guarantee is you is that you’ll thank yourself and feel better after."
Nick Bester, Running Coach - Just A Lil Bester
“Running has been a key part of managing my mental health. I had battled with depression for years due to high pressure jobs and working long hours, in 2015 it really came to a head when the stress and 80-100 weeks almost caused me to take my own life. I went to see a doctor and was given antidepressants... In a brief moment of clarity, I threw the tablets in the bin along with my cigarettes and called my boss and quit! I went out the next day, got myself some cheap running shoes and managed about 1 mile that afternoon... I have not looked back since and, along with my 2 baby sons that have come along since and an amazing wife supporting me, running has been a cornerstone of keeping my mental health in check.”
Nick Hancock, Runderwear Ambassador
Making positive changes can seem hard, especially during uncertain times. And sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. You’re not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery. We hope you can take the opportunity this World Mental Health Day to share how we all can start a positive journey to a healthier self.
If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority. Alternatively, you might have a feeling that you need somewhere to talk, but you don’t necessarily want to go to a GP or therapist, then we’d suggest heading to Run Talk Run.