For Men’s Health Week, BwD Running Mayor Andrew Gardner shares how running has helped his health and wellbeing over the past few years, and why you might want to give it a try…
“Many moons ago when I was playing football in the Blackburn and Darwen combination league our old manager used to say: “When you move the ball, the picture changes”.
That was probably 20 years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. But now (having well and truly hung up my boots) I remove “the ball” and find it is still relevant in everyday life.
When we “move” be that walking, cycling, playing a sport or running, we release endorphins which give us a sense of wellbeing, so when “we move” the picture changes, and invariably it changes for the better.
I have been asked many times over the years why I run, and probably until 2019 I would always said for physical fitness and weight management. However after a bumpy couple of years, made worse by the pandemic I would say running is now equally important for my mental wellbeing. If I don’t go out for a run for more than a day, I miss those endorphins and the fresh air, and I definitely feel my mood dip, and I’d guess it’s the withdrawal symptoms.
As a busy working Dad, like many of us I have a responsibility to care for my family and that is front and centre of everything I do. But with more of us working from home than ever, the lines between home and work are becoming increasingly blurred and “self-care” is the first thing to slip. Making that little bit of time to press reset is vital.
That said, you absolutely don’t have to run to feel the positive mental effects of exercise, a walk is just as good.
We are blessed to have some wonderful countryside around us in Blackburn and Darwen, so do go explore! A run or a walk of any distance will provide you with escapism, time to think, give you new energy and will brighten your day, no matter how gloomy it may seem… I can guarantee you won’t regret it.”
Andrew is a pacer for the Blackburn10K later this year.