Monks Park Doctors Surgery's monthly column - June 2019
On Saturday 1 June doctors and staff from Monks Park took in the GP Parkrun Pledge at Ashton Court to help celebrate a year’s collaboration between GP practices and parkrun UK. So what’s it all about?
In June 2018, The Royal College of General Practitioners and parkrun UK launched a ground-breaking initiative for thousands of patients being prescribed outdoor physical activity. The initiative aims to improve the health and wellbeing of health care staff, patients and carers, reducing the need for lifelong medication.
Parkruns are free,volunteer-led 5k events that take place each Saturday morning across the UK and are open to walkers, runners and volunteers of all ages and abilities. Parkruns are socially-focussed with the emphasis on regular participation rather than performance.
GP practices are being encouraged to develop closer links with their local parkrun to become certified parkrun practices with healthcare practitioners signposting patients and carers to parkrun, particularly those who are the least active and have long-term health conditions.
Now a year later, more than 800 general practices have signed up to be a parkrun practice; linking with their local parkrun event to promote the health and wellbeing of patients and staff, and create entire communities centred on wellness.
In the year since the parkrun collaboration started, GPs have experienced successes with patients with anxiety, depression, diabetes and heart disease as well as those who want to improve their blood pressure or to get fitter. They report healthier, happier patients on fewer medications not having to deal with the side effects of unnecessary drugs.
Monks Park Surgery is a parkrun practice and we are linked with both Ashton Court and Eastville parkruns. A number of staff members, including some of our doctors, are regular parkrunners and have personal experience of the benefits of parkrun.
If you want to take part in parkrun for your health and wellbeing and haven’t done any running before, why not try the NHS Couch to 5K app first? It’s a running plan for absolute beginners and will help you gradually work up towards running 5K in just 9 weeks. It’s free and easy to follow. Download the app from here
When you feel more confident you can join your local parkrun. If running is too daunting or you have health conditions that prevent it, you could try the NHS Active 10 programme whose app is downloadable here