Survey results reinforce link between running and mental wellbeing

AoC Sport is delighted to respond to results of two recent surveys, which reinforce the connection between physical activity and mental wellbeing.

Results of the England Athletics surveys, which focussed specifically on running, were released last week in line with National Stress Awareness Day.

In the first major poll of its kind, questioning 13,000 people over 12 months between September 2016 and August 2017, 74% of runners said they felt running was good for their mental wellbeing.

In an additional survey of the England Athletics RunTogether community, 89% of all runners said they had increased happiness as a direct result of running with others or in a group.

“The results of the surveys are incredibly positive and give great backing to the link between physical activity and improved mental health,” said AoC Sport Policy and Projects Officer, Kirstie Hickson.

“The benefits of physical activity to physical health are well documented, and it’s now really encouraging to see the amount of research being conducted around the effects on mental wellbeing.

“AoC Sport is a huge advocate of utilising sport and physical activity to improve the mental health and wellbeing of both college staff and students, especially around times of increased stress such as exams and the transition from school to college.”

parkrun’s Head of Health and Wellbeing Chrissie Wellington added: “We welcome this research highlighting the importance of physical activity to people’s mental health. parkrun events give people the opportunity to be active, make friends, socialise and develop confidence and skills, whether they walk, run, volunteer or spectate.

“With more than 650 parkruns across the UK every weekend and 1.6 million participants, this research shows that parkrun is having a wide-reaching impact on people’s emotional wellbeing, combating social isolation and improving self-esteem.”