Give To Be Well with Parkrun
Posted: Sat, 22 Apr 2023 15:32
On World Health Day we launched our '5 ways to be well' Campaign, which highlights some of the steps we can take to improve our mental wellbeing including: connecting with others, being active, taking notice of our thoughts and feelings, learning, and giving back to our communities. We reached out to Lydiard Parkrun to find out what volunteering opportunities are available at parkrun and to hear from one of their regular volunteers about their experiences giving back to their community.
Giving and Mental Wellbeing
Volunteering and giving back to your community can have several positive impacts on your wellbeing. Here are some ways in which it can improve your mental and emotional health:
- Increased social connections: Volunteering and giving back to your community can help you build new social connections and strengthen existing ones. This can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation, which are linked to poorer mental health outcomes.
- Increased sense of purpose: Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and meaning, which can improve your overall wellbeing. Knowing that you are making a positive impact in your community can give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
- Improved self-esteem: Volunteering can also boost your self-esteem by providing opportunities to use your skills and talents to help others. This can help you feel more confident and capable, which can translate to other areas of your life.
- Reduced stress: Engaging in volunteer work can also help reduce stress levels. By focusing on the needs of others, you can take a break from your own worries and concerns, which can have a calming effect on the mind and body.
- Improved physical health: Some studies suggest that volunteering can also have physical health benefits, such as lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. This may be due to the positive effects that volunteering can have on mental health.
Give through Parkrun
Parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.
Volunteering at parkrun is an opportunity to get outside, make new friends, have fun, learn new skills and to be a valuable part of your local community. The events rely on support from volunteers and they are always looking for people to join the team!
Mark, a regular volunteer at Lydiard Parkrun shared his experiences below:
How did you get involved in volunteering?
I used to run at Parkrun 12 years ago and wanted to get involved again so I just turned up and offered to help. I'm now approaching 100 volunteers.
What is your role as a volunteer at parkrun?
I've done a few different roles but now I marshal at the same point every week. Which is great because I like encouraging the runners and they recognise me.
How has being a volunteer at parkrun benefitted you?
Being part of a community and having some time on a Saturday morning where I can join in with an activity and meet up with people who I now think of as friends. It's a period of time where I can forget everything else and just be a part of ParkRun.
What advice would you have for people thinking about volunteering at Parkrun?
Just do it, even if the weather is bad, the experience is very supportive and there's a great sense of satisfaction.
There are so many different roles you could get involved in as a volunteer. You could be organising the finish funnel, operating the timer, or scanning the runners' barcodes using the simple Virtual Volunteer app! You'll usually start out with a general marshalling type job, so you get a feel for how an event works. Find out more about what volunteers get up to by clicking here, or watch the video below.
Find your local Parkrun and start your volunteer journey here.