Volunteering doesn’t only furnish you with a natty neon jacket and guarantee your place in runner heaven. It also makes you physically and mentally healthier. That’s according to a recent survey of parkrun volunteers. More than half of those surveyed said helping out at the free weekly 5K helped their mental health, while a quarter said it also helped their physical health. The researchers concluded that ‘the characteristics of parkrun (free, regular, local, accessible and optional) could be used ‘as a model for community events seeking to attract volunteers’.
An older study, by scientists at Glasgow Caledonian University, found that parkrun participants scored 4.4 on the Oxford Happiness Scale, above the average of 4 for the general population. In addition, 89% of the runners surveyed said that the free, weekly 5k made them happier, as well as having a positive impact on their mental health and body image.
Dr Emmaunuelle Tulle, reader in Sociology at Glasgow Caledonian University said: ‘Running gives you a feeling you have achieved something and a sense of tremendous satisfaction. It adds to a general sense of wellbeing, you feel good and it helps boost your self-confidence.’
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