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Lifestyle and fitness

GP body teams up with parkrun UK to improve patient fitness and cut medications

GPs are encouraging patients with long-term conditions to take part in their local ‘Parkrun’ in a national initiative to boost physical activity and where possible, help reduce medication.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) has partnered up with the organisation, Parkrun UK, and is calling for practices to become certified ‘Parkrun’ practices and signpost patients to their local Parkrun events — organised 5km events in local open space where participants can run, walk or jog the distance.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the RCGP, said: “Small, often simple, lifestyle changes can have a really positive impact on our health and wellbeing, so anything that encourages patients to live better, and move more is a good thing.” 

Chrissie Wellington, head of health and wellbeing at Parkrun UK, added: “This exciting and game-changing initiative with RCGP is a huge step forward in helping us to encourage GP practices across the country to forge really beneficial partnerships with their local Parkruns, and for all staff and patients to realise the wide-ranging health benefits that Parkrun participation can bring.”

Simon Tobin, a GP from Southport, said that after inviting patients to take part in a Parkrun he had seen positive results in individuals with anxiety, depression, diabetes and heart disease.

“My patients are healthier, happier and on fewer medications, and the NHS saves a fortune on unnecessary drugs and dealing with their side effects.”

There are currently 535 Parkruns across the UK. The Saturday morning events are free and take place year round in public open spaces.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20205046

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