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Maintaining mental health

by Jim Ransom

Looking after number one

I have always been a believer in physical exercise as a great way of clearing my head and making room for myself just to be me. Does that sound weird; 6 years ago I had never run anywhere for fun, as a keen sportsman running was just part of the mechanics of a game. It was only when I stopped playing squash that I considered doing something just for me, walking, though enjoyable didn’t seem to fit the bill. Running can be social it can be competitive but it can also be meditational, regardless of the weather, but ultimately is all about you, there will be good runs and not so good runs, but even a bad run can help you become more positive. If you have struggled to get out throughout lockdown, lacking motivation, perhaps you just have lost your mojo for running. I want to help you get back to where you want to be.

Running can control stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps moderate the brain’s response to stress. Taking your run outside on a sunny day helps your body produce Vitamin D, a nutrient that can lessen your likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms.

Here are my 3 top tips for maintaining good mental health and how running with Faversham Running Club can help you.

Number 1

Never bottle a problem up, always talk to someone and as strange as it seems that can include yourself, when you are on a run you have time to think and breathe and just to escape what is getting you down.

Number 2

If you are struggling like many due to lockdown, perhaps lacking motivation and you just can’t bring yourself to get out for a run, maybe you think you will hate it or not enjoy it on your own. Then call a run buddy someone who will just run with you, for social interaction may be a listening friend, I have used this approach many times and have been a run buddy to others many times, the Running Club can help you with this. Many people have got great training programmes and many of us have lots of beautiful run routes we can share.

Number 3

Set yourself realistic run targets, so that your training will manage and support both your physical and your mental health needs, if you run too hard or too fast when you are not focussed you will often encounter injuries that will further exasperate your training and will impact almost certainly on your mental health.

A good run can help you feel calmer and generally less anxious and will prove to be a healthy way to cope through tough times.

Jim Ransom
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