A huge congratulations to Programme Scheduler, Bev Firth, who this week has been selected to represent Great Britain at the 2020 European Duathlon Championships.
The age group competition is a run, bike, run triathlon and after a successful race last year Bev was selected by the British Triathlon Federation as one of the top 20 athletes in Great Britain to represent the 40 to 45 year old age group.
The European Championships take place in September in The Netherlands where Bev will compete against the best athletes from across Europe who have similarly been picked to represent their country. The event will consist of a 5km run followed by a 20km bike ride, finishing with a second run of 2.5km.
Bev said: “I’m honoured to be able to represent the country doing something I love so much. Running not only keeps me physically fit, it makes me feel good. It helps me to process my day and gives me time for just myself.”
With this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, Bev encourages anyone to give running, or any form of exercise, a go to see how it can help your mind as well as your body.
She adds: “Even if you’re new to running or being physically active, it’s never too late to start. Start small and don’t push yourself too hard. It’s been proven that physical activity can help to improve your mood and mental wellbeing. Try a brisk walk, a short bike ride or just dancing in your kitchen. It makes me feel positive and will for you too!”
Benefits of exercise on your mental health
Mental Health Awareness Week is an annual event run by the Mental Health Foundation. You can find a wealth of information, advice and guidance on how exercise can support your mental health on their website at mentalhealth.org.uk.
They believe that “being active doesn’t have to mean doing sport or going to the gym. There are lots of ways to be active; find the one that works for you and let’s all get physical!”
It’s recommended that the average adult should do between 75 and 150 minutes of exercise a week, and that means any activity that raises your heart rate, makes you breathe faster, and makes you feel warmer. That could be daily activity such as walking to the bus stop or climbing stairs; purposeful exercise such as running or weightlifting; sports games such as football, squash and cricket; or simply playing around in the garden.
MHF add that: “Physical activity has a huge potential to enhance our wellbeing. Even a short burst of 10 minutes’ brisk walking increases our mental alertness, energy and positive mood. Participation in regular physical activity can increase our self-esteem and can reduce stress and anxiety. It also plays a role in preventing the development of mental health problems and in improving the quality of life of people experiencing mental health problems.
If you are new to physical activity and don’t know where to start here’s some good advice: “Ask yourself whether you’d prefer being indoors or out, doing a group or individual activity, or trying a new sport. If you’re put off by sporty exercises, or feel uninspired at the thought of limiting yourself to just one activity, think outside the box and remember that going on a walk, doing housework, and gardening are all physical activities. Also, would you rather go it alone or do an activity with a friend? Social support is a great motivator, and sharing your experiences, goals and achievements will help you to keep focus and enthusiasm.”
The current pandemic may limit some of your options right now, but as we all navigate these new and uncertain times, it’s more important than ever to look after your mental health as well as your family, friends and physical health. We don’t all have to strive to become a triathlete or duathlete – though there’s nothing stopping you of course! But if you’re feeling like you need a pick me up, don’t forget there’s no limit to the amount of exercise you’re allowed to do. So let’s get up, get moving and get positive.