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Running for wellbeing this winter

18 December 2020

The winter months can be difficult for anyone struggling with their mental health, this year more than ever.  

But exercise such as running is an effective way to keep your mental health in check. Being outside getting more natural light and staying active helps general wellbeing. The serotonin boost we get from sunshine and exercise can boost mood, improve sleep and benefit your mental health.  

However, a combination of bad weather, dark evenings, and additional pressure to juggle work and family commitments can make it incredibly difficult to find the time and motivation. 

Research shows women run for mental health 

study carried out in 2019 by Cardiff University researchers in partnership with Cardiff University/Cardiff Half Marathon organisers Run 4 Wales, looked specifically at why women run, and the barriers they face around participation.   

Women responding to the study said that running boosted their physical and mental health, reduced anxiety and improved wellbeing. In fact, 74% of women said mental health benefits were one of the reasons they ran.  

But the study also found that the pressures of work and family were impacting on their running time. With the additional impact of COVID-19, it’s unsurprising that many women are struggling to find time to exercise, at a time it’s actually needed most. 

Finding your focus 

Whilst there’s no magic wand to conjure up more hours in the day, treating exercise as an important part of your physical and mental self-care routine can help when it comes to prioritising what’s on your plate. And committing to a challenge can be key to keeping yourself focussed, and ensure you stick to your exercise goals. 

Cardiff University / Cardiff Half Marathon is now scheduled for 3 October 2021 which means there are around nine months until race-day. Sign up to run with #TeamCardiff and we’ll help keep you motivated with regular tips and advice to help you stay on track.  

Run to support world-leading research 

We have limited free spaces for our fundraisers – select a cause and register to get involved. You could choose to support the mental health and neuroscience research taking place at Cardiff University to help improve diagnosis and treatment for a wide range of conditions including depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. 

Register your interest with us and we will be in touch with further information on how to complete the registration process and claim your free #TeamCardiff running place.