Editor's comment: let’s change the activity narrative

Frontline acting editor Janet Snell was inspired to sign up for parkrun when she heard its lead speak at an event.

It was inspiring to hear activity guru Nick Pearson speak at the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Alliance annual lecture in November

He spelt out that if we keep selling people the same old exercise message of blame and shame rather than encouragement and motivation, then we will continue to fail to make progress towards getting more people active (see news p14).

He called on health professionals, including physios, to change the narrative so that every individual, whatever their level, felt empowered. And he backed the CSP’s Love activity, Hate exercise? campaign, saying its message really chimes with the parkrun ethos. 

A high proportion of participants have not done any exercise at all before taking part in parkrun.Many others are disabled or have long-term conditions, or are members of what Pearson referred to as the ‘health underclass.’ 

Parkrun is a phenomenon. It started small but it’s now the biggest running event on the planet with thousands of people all over the world running around their local parks every weekend. Accessibility is its watchword and all professionals in the business of trying to get people to move more could learn from parkrun’s inclusive approach. 

Any activity is better than no activity and we need to work harder to help people believe that they can exercise, not just that they should. We can all love activity if it’s fun and if it makes you feel good. After hearing Nick Pearson speak I registered for my local parkrun. How about you?

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