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Arron Collins-Thomas - Episode 6 - The Benefits of Running

Watch Episode 6 here

If would prefer to read a text version of Arron's latest vlog - check out the video transcript below

Amy Williams:

Hello, it's Amy Williams here for the U Perform YouTube channel along with Arron our U Perform fitness expert. Now together, we spoke last week about common myths about training. And this week we're going to talk about running and the benefits of running. Why is it so good to run Arron?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

I think we all know the amazing benefits of running, but at a time like we're in at the moment where you know, we've just come out of a heavy lockdown, into a bit of relaxation, and now we're moving into more restrictions again. A lot of people found running during lockdown. It was accessible, you know, they just had to leave the house and get out. And the government was saying, go out, take your 1 hour of exercise. It was important because they were actually saying, go exercise, not just go for a walk.

And what was the thing that people could do? It was, it was run, it was accessible. It didn't need any special equipment. Apart from a decent pair of trainers, which I think most people need to upgrade anyway, from what I've seen. And with people being more aware of their health and knowing that they've got to look after themselves a bit more with a pandemic that's sweeping the world.

We know that the healthier you are, the less weight you're carrying and the better your cardiovascular fitness is, the less chance you are getting the illness. And then if you do get it, the more likely you are to be to move past it. And the important thing is that's the case for so many other illnesses and diseases out there. It's just taking a pandemic to almost scare people into having to get fit and understanding that more.

And I think one of the main ways that people did that was through running during the lockdown. And so it's been great to see hundreds of people out in parks, running down roads, running down the streets. I find it amazing to see parents going out with their children. I thought that was really great to see adults being role models for their kids and helping them through quite a tough time for everyone, when they've got lack of sports at school because they're not running around with their friends and things. They need to be just as active as the parents. So turning that into a whole family thing was really great.

Amy Williams:

And how would you advise people. The people who come along saying, I know I need to run, but I absolutely hate it. And it's so boring and dull, and everything, you know, hurts and aches, but I really should. How would you encourage those people to put the trainers on and get outside?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

I think it's one of those things once you get started and you start to gently and you build up in the right way, you start to feel the benefits, the aches and pains might start to ease a little bit. You feel a bit more energised and then you can build and build and build gradually. I think a lot of people throw themselves at it too quickly and they don't really know what they're doing. And if you are carrying too much extra weight or if you've had some injuries and things, you're just going to be putting pressure on those joints. So you've got to start gently and strengthen the body bit by bit.

So there's actually a program created by Professor Greg Whyte OBE, which is the 'U to Running' program. And it basically takes you from doing nothing to running 5km in just eight weeks. And it builds up gradually starting with a bit of walking but running and allows you just to step it up in a safe manner.

Amy Williams:

Sounds good. It sounds like something for everyone. We just touched upon the mental side of running and how good it is to get outside. And we all know endorphins are flowing through your body, et cetera. You're a little bit more knowledgeable about that kind of mental health side. Give us another few reasons.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

I think when a lot of people were in heavy lockdown, but even so now we're not in so much of a deep lockdown; people are still spending time in confined spaces and the four walls of their house. And often working in the same environment that they eat in. The same room they will try and watch TV and relax in and it can become quite claustrophobic.

So just getting outside and going for a run is going to change your mental health in a massive amount of ways. Breathing some fresh air, hopefully being outside. The eyes, they get to focus on different things in the distance. So that's really great for helping with your concentration. If you've been looking at a computer screen this close all day, getting out and changing your focus, having that time where hopefully you're out there without your mobile phone and not contactable. You can just go out there and be with your own thoughts and clear some stuff. I mean, I always find that running. I don't particularly love running. I enjoy it, but I know the benefits of it, but I find I get through so much stuff in my head when I'm out there running and I can just clear it all out to go through my thoughts and no one's there to distract me, which is really, really important part of that.

Amy Williams:

Yeah. I can kind of hear you on that. I've never run long distances in my life. But for me, and as a mom, it's, you're not pushing a buggy. You're not holding the child's hand or grabbing them or juggling, you know, one, two, three babies or whatever it might be. And to run with just you, no phone. I sometimes have no phone, no earphones, no music, no children, no buggy, no bags. And it's the freedom. Just that freedom of whether it is 15, 20 minutes and you're right, you come back and you're like, Oh, I just feel light because you sort of haven't physically and mentally got that burden on you. So yeah, it's definitely got its benefits.

Arron Collins-Thomas:

I think you said something important there. You said 15, 20 minutes. It doesn't have to be a massive long run. You don't have to think I've got to go there for an hour. It just is 15 to 20 minutes outside being alone with your thoughts, giving yourself some space. You know, if you're in a busy household, kids, work, everything else going on, you've got to give yourself a break. And most of the time when we go out, what do we do? We take our phones with us and we're fiddling around on the phone, looking at stuff and we're not on our own then are we? We are connected to everything else that's going on.

So we've got to have that distance from all those things and to get the mental health benefits. And then being around outside in nature. You know, it's not possible for everyone. I know if you live in a big city, but trying to find some green space running between some trees, we all know that being in nature is very calming for us.

Good quality of air is going to make a big difference as well. And then running outside is quite good for the body anyway, and it challenges you proprioceptively. You know, if you're running along and you have to watch out for a puddle, you got to jump and move that. So your body has to constantly adapt to what's going on in front of you. So it just stimulates the body in a different way than just being sat inside at a desk.

And then again, we're also undoing the effects of sitting. Postural problems from sitting at desks like this all day long. One of my good friends is a chiropractor and he said that in lockdown, since then, he's had lots of people coming to see him where they've been sat for long periods of time in un-ergonomically designed workspaces. So these new computer stations, they've got at home. And yeah, they've been causing lots of back pains, lots of shoulder pain. So just generally getting up and moving regularly is really important.

Amy Williams:

We all know there's less risk involved exercising outdoors than indoors. And the fact that actually running is such a social activity, isn't it?

Arron Collins-Thomas:

Yeah, it can be. We are starved of being social quite a lot the moment, and we're not allowed to see as many people as we normally would. We need to make sure that we still have that social connection and interaction with others. So if we can do that safely in parks or going for a run rather than in pubs, we're going to get benefit for our health, right. And we're still going to get that nice social interaction. So, it's going to be really beneficial for people to go out there in small groups, keeping social distance and, you know, enjoying the great outdoors and getting on their feet and running.

Amy Williams:

And I guess, you know, if people can't run because of health conditions and doctors, it's just getting outside and exercising. Just make sure you're walking, your moving and just get in that fresh air, oxygen in your lungs.

Now, it's been great talking to Arron today. Next week, we're going to be covering rest and recovery and self-care. So if you want to see that, please set your reminder, ding that bell, press your subscribe button and we will see you next week with Arron.

Tune in next week for Episode 7

See you then!

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