How can UK public health initiatives support each other to improve the maintenance of physical activity? Evidence from a cross-sectional survey of runners who move from Couch-to-5k to parkrun

NICOLA RELPH, MICHAEL OWEN, Mohammed Moinuddin, Robert Noonan, Paola Dey, Alice Bullas, Helen Quirk, Steve Haake

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Physical activity improves physical and mental well-being and reduces mortality risk. However, only a quarter of adults globally meet recommended physical activity levels for health. Two common initiatives in the UK are Couch-to-5k (an app-assisted 9-week walk/run programme) and parkrun (a free, weekly, timed 5-km walk/run). It is not known how these initiatives are linked, how Couch-to-5k parkrunners compare to parkrunners, and the extent to which this influences their parkrun performance. The aims were to compare the characteristics and motives and to compare physical activity levels, parkrun performance and the impact of parkrun between Couch-to-5k parkrunners and parkrunners. Three thousand two hundred and ninety six Couch-to-5k parkrunners were compared to 55,923 parkrunners to explore age, sex, ethnicity, employment status,
neighbourhood deprivation, motives, physical activity levels, parkrun performance and the impact of parkrun. Couch-to-5k parkrunners were slightly older, more likely to be female and work part-time, but similar in ethnicity, and neighbourhood deprivation compared with other parkrunners. Couch-to-5k parkrunners had different motives for participation and reported high
levels of physical activity at registration, which remained to the point of survey completion. This group had slower parkrun times but, when registered for a year, completed a similar number of runs (11) per year. Larger proportions of Couch-to-5k parkrunners perceived positive impacts compared with other parkrunners and 65% of Couch-to-5k parkrunners reported improvements to their lifestyle. parkrun appears to be an effective pathway for those on the Couch-to-5k programme, and the promising positive association between the two initiatives may be effective in assisting previously inactive participants
to take part in weekly physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
JournalHealth Promotion International
Volume38
Issue number5
Early online date3 Oct 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2023

Keywords

  • physical activity
  • running
  • participation
  • parkrun
  • couch-to-5k
  • Public Health
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Couch-to-5k
  • Male
  • United Kingdom
  • Exercise
  • Running
  • parkrun
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Couch-to-5k
  • parkrun
  • Couch-to-5k

Research Institutes

  • Health Research Institute

Research Centres

  • Sport and Mental Health Research Centre

Research Groups

  • Sport, Work and Health Research Group

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