Glasgow’s Weekly dose of Happiness!
The Bank of Scotland’s Annual Happiness Index Report last year crowned Glasgow Scotland’s unhappiest city. The report’s findings revealed that people living in Fife, Central Scotland, Clackmannanshire and Perthshire, are the happiest in the country, with residents said to be almost 50% more happy than last year. Glasgow on the other-hand came out on bottom, with Glaswegians 40% less happy than their mid Scottish neighbours.
In spite of the report’s findings, more and more of Glasgow’s residents are getting involved in outdoor activities to boost morale and get active.
As part of the UK-wide, voluntary organisation Parkrun, Pollok Parkrun was first launched in 2008, and encourages people of all ages to come and run in their local park for free. 38 events have since been commissioned around Scotland.
Today, Pollok Parkrun is one of Glasgow’s most popular keep-fit events, and the 5km run attracts a diverse group, with adults, children, groups of elderly residents, young couples with young babies in prams, and even dog owners, all coming together to run.
With happiness at the heart of the event, you don’t have to be a seasoned gym-goer or professional runner to take part in the run.
Elizabeth Corbett is in charge of the Pollock Park run. She said: “There are around 300 to 400 hundred people who join in with the run every week, and it is all about the people. It doesn’t matter about how fast or slow you are, or what age you happen to be, people of all backgrounds are welcome to run.”
So why does running help with our happieness? A report published in April by Glasgow Caledonian University concluded that regular running makes people happier and more confident in everyday life.
Over 8000 regular parkrun participants took part in the university study, with 89% admitting that running has made them happier, and had an overwhelmingly positive impact on their mental health.
The runners surveyed also scored above average on the Oxford Happiness Questionnaire, a well-established method used by scientists to measure wellbeing.
Reader in sociology from Glasgow Caledonian University, Dr Emmanuelle Tulle, said: “Running gives you a feeling that you have achieved something, and a sense of tremendous satisfaction.
“It adds to a general sense of wellbeing. You feel good, and it helps boosts your self-confidence.
In an interview with The Scotsman, Dr Emmanuelle further emphasised the family benefits of the weekly run. She described the importance of spending quality time with family members, and how something as small as a weekly run can have an extremely positive effect on family units.
Alyson Conwell frequently participates in the Pollok Parkrun with her children. She believes it is a worthwhile activity and feels energetic after running.
Conwell said: “The park run is also a family event; people can come with their family members and children, and even meet friends here.” With the summer months approaching, Alyson added that she will continue to attend parkrun with her children during the school holidays.
There is a post Parkrun coffee meet-up at the Servants Hall in Pollok House which is s short distance from the finishing line. Here people are able to establish relationships or spend quality time with family members or catch up with friends.
“Running gives you a feeling that you have achieved something, and a sense of tremendous satisfaction”-Dr Emmanuelle Tulle
The health benefits of regular exercise is not a new phenomenon, as physical activity has been proven to reduce the risk of a large number of diseases, improve sleep quality, and boost energy.
According to a survey in 2017, GPs, nurses and physiotherapists are even beginning to “prescribe” parkrun to their patients as an enjoyable and sociable way of staying healthy.
Dr Simon Tobin is a GP from Southport and has been prescribing parkrun to his patients for more than a year. In an interview on the Parkrun website, he said: “I’ve seen many, many people exercise themselves back to health. It’s a win-win situation for my patients and the NHS. My patients are healthier, happier and on fewer medications, and the NHS saves a fortune on unnecessary drugs and dealing with their side effects.”
If you want to join in on the fun, find out more information on Pollok parkrun here.