Run your way to youthfulness this Youth Month

Discovery Vitality and parkrun celebrate their fifth anniversary.

June is full of excuses to start running your way to youthfulness and great health. With World Running Day on the 6th, it is also Youth Month and five years that Discovery Vitality has been a headline sponsor of parkrun SA.

Over the past five years the number of Vitality members signing up for parkruns has continued to grow, and between 2013 and 2017 Discovery Vitality members ran 9.9 million kilometers at parkruns around the country.

“Our aim of the partnership with parkrun is to build healthier communities one weekend run at a time. Running does wonders in improving not only physical wellbeing, but also mental wellbeing. We at Vitality have seen how effective running is as a stepping stone to other healthy lifestyle behaviour changes, both at an individual and at a community level,” says Dr Craig Nossel, head of Vitality Wellness at Discovery Vitality.

A recent paper titled Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity indicates that runners have a 30%-50% reduced risk of cancer related mortality, and a 45%-70% lower risk of cardiovascular related mortality, compared to non-runners.

Here are five reasons why running is great for you:

1.Runners live longer: The study found that after adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, alcohol consumption, socioeconomic variables, body mass index, and other types of physical activity, runners have 25% to 40% lower risk over non-runners of death by any cause.

2.Runners are far less at risk of cancer and heart disease: Those who run regularly have a 30% to 50% reduced risk of cancer-related mortality, and a 45% to 70% lower risk of death related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), compared to non-runners. If all non-runners became runners in this population, 16% of deaths by any cause and 25% of CVD mortality deaths would be prevented in the context of population-mortality burden.

3.Running is also good for your mental health: There’s additional evidence that running can protect against mortality resulting from neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Physical activity has been found to improve cognitive function and reduce depressive symptoms, potentially lowering mortality related to some neurological or psychiatric conditions.

4.It’s better than other sports at keeping you slim: Running may confer superior benefits over other types of vigorous-intensity physical activity, since it is more strongly associated with lower body weights and smaller waist circumferences.

5.Runners tend to practice other healthy habits: Runners also tend to engage in other healthy behaviours that contribute to their increased longevity, such as maintaining a normal body weight, not smoking, and consuming light-to moderate amounts of alcohol.

Mother of four, grandmother of five and Discovery member Dierdre Larkin, 85 is an avid runner and believes running is not only great for her health, but keeps her younger. She started running at the age of 78 and hasn’t stopped. “Running makes me feel excited and happy. It takes me several hours after a 10 or 21 km race to recover from a most enjoyable ‘Runner’s High’. And in the last 15 years I have only visited my doctor for relief from the flu. I go annually for check-ups and X-rays, but all seems ok so far,” Larkin added.

“Running is cost effective and is accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels and a great way to work your heart and leg muscles. All you need is a comfortable pair of running shoes and you are good to go. We encourage everyone to run their way to good health and if you are a Vitality member, you can get rewarded for it every week with Vitality Active Rewards, Families in and around the Delta Park area can join us for a 5th birthday celebration run on Saturday June 16th at 08:00,” concluded Nossel.

So don’t you think it’s time you and your family got in on the parkrun action? It’s simple, just find an event near you, sign up for parkrun, link your profile and get running! Be one of 50 000 people running or walking parkrun each Saturday morning at 143 events around the country. Vitality members earn up to 300 Vitality points for completing a parkrun and scanning their barcode at the finish line.



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