West Norfolk doctors urge patients to join parkrun

PUBLISHED: 09:56 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:56 18 July 2018

Patients are being urged to join the King's Lynn Parkrun   Picture: Tim Smith

Patients are being urged to join the King's Lynn Parkrun Picture: Tim Smith


Doctors are encouraging more patients to put on their trainers and get active by joining their nearest parkrun.

West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group is teaming up with the King’s Lynn parkrun to support the Parkrun Practices initiative, which is aimed at encouraging more patients to undertake exercise to improve their health and wellbeing.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is working with parkrun UK to promote closer links between surgeries and their local run.

More people in West Norfolk are reporting to be doing 30 minutes of exercise each week but hopes are high that doctors will be able to encourage more patients to do the same.

Estimated levels of obesity and physical activity in West Norfolk are higher than the average in England while 20.5pc of Year 6 children are classified as obese.

There are also high numbers of people in West Norfolk with diabetes, which is caused by a range of factors including diet, sedentary life style along with ageing, population growth and genetics. A few simple changes such as taking more exercise can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

West Norfolk CCG governing body member Dr Clare Hambling knows the importance of exercise after fighting back to fitness following surgery for a debilitating back injury.

Downham Market GP Dr Hambling, who has a special interest in diabetes and recently completed the Trinity Rotary Club 10km Cross Country Run, said: “Exercise is really good for both your physical and mental health. It is also important for health ageing.

“I find exercise the best way to unwind after a busy day at work and it also makes you feel good. I think I’m hooked on it now.

“The secret is to find something you enjoy and parkruns are free and a non-intimidating way for patients in West Norfolk to get active.”

King’s Lynn event director Gary Walker said more than 350 people go along to The Walks at 9am and it has also helped to spark off a number of friendships and spin-off exercise groups.

He said: “If you want to improve your fitness along with your wellbeing then parkruns are fantastic way to do that.

“One of the best things about the King’s Lynn parkrun is our family atmosphere, our runners feel like they are part of a community. They help each other out along the way and no-one is ever last as we have a trail runner. It also not a race, it is just you against the clock.

“It is a non-intimidating community atmosphere and everyone is there to support one another. It has also been the catalyst for helping people to improve their fitness.

“It is not a club, it is a community and, of course, it is all free.”

Active Norfolk, the County’s Sports Partnership, is also getting behind the Parkrun Practice initiative.

Active Norfolk’s inactivity and health development manager, Shelley Ames, said: “This fantastic initiative will help GP surgeries across Norfolk to increase engagement with their local communities, and improve both staff and patient health and wellbeing.”

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