The Coronavirus outbreak has inspired a lot of discussion about mental health. With the virus having a significant social, financial and psychological impact on many, it is no surprise that more people than ever are experiencing mental health problems.
Mental health problems can present themselves in many forms, including :
- increased anxiety
- insomnia / lack of sleep
- feelings of hopelessness
Exercise and mental health
There is a strong belief that exercise, including running, can have a positive affect on mental health. This was supported by our recent survey of Twitter followers showing 65% of respondents saying that they run primarily for the benefit of their mental health.
A number of factors, both physically and mentally could be helping. These include the release of endorphins ('happy hormones'), a sense of control / accomplishment and a means to meet with friends and like-minded people.
With the help of fellow runners and mental health resources we've compiled a brief list of running recommendations that we hope will help get us through the next few weeks of lockdown.
1. Use alternative ways to connect with friends
With exercise limited to groups of 2, there will be little opportunity to meet friends or other runners. Possible alternatives include WhatsApp, Twitter or other social media platforms. We're big fans of WhatsApp for close friends, as well as Twitter, finding their online running community notably friendly and non-judgemental.
2. Establish a routine
Devise a running plan. Establish a few rules (frequency, days of the week to exercise, distance to run, etc) and stick to them.
3. Explore the neighbourhood
With many of us having extra time (not needing to travel to work, etc) use it to run further afield and / or investigate new routes. Useful websites / apps include : https://onthegomap.com, http://mapmyrun.com and Strava. We've used Strava to check out routes followed by friends, which has helped us devise a few interesting new routes.
4. Run in the daylight
Okay. We admit that it's easier said than done in winter, but try to run during daylight hours. Many people find that the sunlight helps lift their mood.
Take care everyone. Look after each other, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Below are a list of sources for this article. If you're looking for useful information, these are a good place to start.