WHATEVER about the associated benefits of fitness and weight loss, hundreds of people have vowed to take part in the Great Limerick Run in May for their mental health.
Over 100 psychology students at the University of Limerick have signed up to take part in this year’s run as part of their coursework. The psychology students are examining the benefits of physical exercise on psychological health.
The students are undertaking a training regime with the help of their coach Irish athlete, Jessie Barr who is also a graduate of the B.A. psychology at UL and an Olympic hopeful for London this summer.
“Research shows things like regular exercise, a sense of shared identity or connectedness with others and social support can have a positive impact on mental health,” said Professor Orla Muldoon, foundation chair of psychology at UL.
“It is hoped this will consolidate their sense of being exercisers, help them find new friends and supports within their cohort in UL and also change the norms around exercise for this group, a benefit that will stay with them through their UL careers.”
The initiative aims to encourage students to evaluate the factors that promote or inhibit their own participation in exercise.
Students are also encouraged to evaluate the link between exercise and mental health which is emphasised during training, lectures and tutorials.
“Exercise is as effective for the treatment of mild and moderate depression, which is a serious issue in this age group. Students are their own ‘experimental subjects’ or guinea pigs, which means that the exercise, fundraising and reflection on their participation is assessed. The coursework requires them to monitor their health and well-being over the course of their training and submit a written report detailing gains/losses and insights,” said prof Muldoon.
Meanwhile, Pieta House in Limerick, which supports people at risk of suicide and self harm, is encouraging people to run one of the three races on Sunday, May 6, to raise much needed funds for their charitable organisation. The Rosbrien based agency helps hundreds of people throughout the mid-west every year in overcoming mental health difficulties.
Entry costs for the Great Limerick Run vary from €25 to €70, but none of these proceeds go to charity and instead the entry fees cover the costs of organising the events. The organisers hope the number of entries will exceed 3,000 in the coming week, which will greatly exceed entries for the same time last year. It is expected that more than 8,000 people will take part in the third annual event this year. There are now 66 days to enter the race, see www.greatlimerickrun.com/ to book your place