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Two-thirds of runners lace up to boost their mental health

Over two-thirds of runners, are motivated to lace up and go for a run because of the mental health benefits experienced according to research results revealed this week as part of the launch of the Irish Life Health Festival of Running. The event on Sunday, July 28 will bring the elite and every day runner together in a celebration of running and athletics. Organised by Athletics Ireland, the festival will include a 1 Mile Fun Run for children and a 3km Run in Santry Park with all races finishing on the home straight of the track in Morton Stadium before the start of the Irish Life Health national track and field championships.


Healthy minds
Speaking at the launch, performance psychologist with the Sport Ireland Institute and Olympian, Jessie Barr, commented: “Running is the perfect way to decompress and let off some steam, providing a welcome distraction from daily hassles. Research has found that engaging in just 20 minutes of aerobic exercises, such as running, can improve mood and reduce levels of anxiety for several hours post-exercise.”

Green therapy
The research also revealed that half of those who run regularly are motivated to go for a run to be out in the fresh air and in nature with Barr adding: “Just five minutes of running in a green space can positively affect your self-esteem and your mood, which is great for those of us who don’t like to run for very long periods of time. Personally, since I have hung up my competitive spikes, I have really enjoyed going for easy runs outside and being among nature, so I would encourage runners of all abilities to sign up for the 3km run which will take place in the woodland of Santry Park.”

Positive parental role models
Olympians, Rob and Marian Heffernan were also on hand to launch the event. Marian stated: “As parents we need to serve as role models to our kids, to be a positive influence for them. It is important to me that my children know that the benefits of being active both for the body and mind by seeing it in our everyday lives.” This is supported by the research conducted, with 78% of parents who run regularly stating that they feel they are positive role models to their children and an example to them of how exercise improves mood. Olympic medallist Rob added: “Having fun together while being active is really important too and we are looking forward to taking part as a family in the festival in the beautiful surrounding of the Santry Park.”

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