Did you know that Aussie GPs are prescribing parkrun to their patients?
In April 2022 parkrun Australia launched the parkrun practice initiative in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), which aims to raise awareness of parkrun amongst GPs and practice staff, encourage them to take part in parkrun and signpost patients/carers to our events, support the growth of social prescribing and help build integrated and supportive local communities centred on wellness.
In southern Tasmania, one clinic is practising what it preaches, with the Glebe Hill Family Practice coming along to volunteer at Bellerive parkrun last Saturday.
Led by Dr David Knowles, the group and their families donned the orange hi-vis to learn more about the positive benefits of parkrun.
The team at Bellerive took the opportunity to chat with Dr David (who was co-Run Director on the day) about how parkrun is being prescribed to patients and why it works.
How did you first hear about parkrun?
A friend stayed with us in 2019 and he was a regular participant at parkrun in Adelaide. He dragged me along to my first parkrun at Bellerive. Everyone was surprised I ran the entire way, although at a slow pace.
What do you love about parkrun?
I love the enthusiasm and the sense of community. The scenery at Bellerive is great too. I have met a lot of people just from parkrun. I like that it is timed so you can see your progress.
Why did Glebe Hill Family Practice decide to get involved?
Glebe Hill Family Practice decided to get involved with the parkrun practice initiative as we aligned with the goal of promoting physical activity as a treatment option.
What benefits do you think parkrun has for the community and your patients?
parkrun promotes healthy physical activity in a very safe environment. It
promotes being part of a local community and is an event that anyone can be
Are the GPs at Glebe Hill becoming more aware of parkrun?
Yes, they are as we have talked about it as a practice. We have information in each of the consulting rooms and in our waiting room. When the opportunity arises, our GPs are prescribing parkrun and are talking to people about its benefits.
Have you had any examples of a patient attending parkrun and it having a positive impact on their health?
Yes, we have diabetic patients who are improving their sugar control by increasing their physical activity levels.
I have personally found it helps people’s mental health. Not just through exercise but also through the sense of community that exists at parkrun.
Why did your practice decide to volunteer at Bellerive?
We wanted to show that as a practice, we support parkrun and the best way for us to show this was to volunteer as a practice. Coming along to volunteer also raises parkrun’s profile at the practice and it will be talked about more now. We saw a lot of our patients at the parkrun and this is good for Glebe Hill in showing our patients that we practise what we preach.
What was the response like?
The practice was enthusiastic to volunteer, even amongst people who could not attend. The concept was great for the practice and for educating us as a group about parkrun. There was complete buy-in from everyone. A few did want to clarify that they did not need to run the 5km!
Will more GPs/staff attend now?
We will definitely volunteer again as a practice but I think it has also encouraged people to get involved personally. Everyone kept saying “that was fun!”
Thank you to everyone who supports this event every week!
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