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Celebrate the 1st anniversary of the parkrun practice initiative

On Saturday June 1, three GPs from the Barrack Lane Medical Centre in Ipswich will be among the many health professionals in Suffolk and across the country celebrating the first anniversary of the parkrun practice initiative.

Drs Jesuthasan, Ahmadi and Banerjee are set to participate in the Ipswich parkrun and are encouraging other GPs and practice staff, health professionals and patients to join them.

The national parkrun initiative is a free weekly event that encourages people of all ages to keep active by participating in a 5km walk or run. Since last year, local GP practices have been developing close links with their parkrun to become ‘parkrun practices’ to highlight the health and wellbeing benefits of regular exercise to patients and staff.

In east Suffolk, 15 GP practices have now signed up to be a parkrun practice.

In addition to Ipswich other local parkrun locations include Kesgrave, Felixstowe, Great Cornard, Haverhill and Bury St Edmunds. 
Across the country there are around 620 parkruns and an estimated 150,000 people participate every weekend.

Dr Juno Jesuthasan, one of the partners at Barrack Lane Medical Centre, said: “Taking regular exercise is undoubtedly one of the best ways to maintain good health and wellbeing and I am pleased that staff and patients at our practice have embraced the initiative so wholeheartedly.

“The parkrun practice is an initiative we support and hope that other GP practices, staff and patients will get involved."

Neelima Chatterjee, a patient at the surgery who participated in a recent Ipswich parkrun, says: “I will be 70 this year and suffered a fractured knee in 2012, so I was only expecting to walk around, but with all the encouragement from the volunteers, plus the other people taking part, I not only managed to walk briskly I was also able to jog some of the downhill sections.
“I feel I have achieved one of the milestones I set myself to complete in my 70th year. Not only participating in the event, but completing it and not finishing last. Although I was physically tired afterwards, I felt so much better and healthier for taking part.”
Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, said: “Through the Most Active County partnership, we have been working collaboratively with CCG colleagues and a range of organisations to integrate physical activity into as many aspects of life as possible. 
“The parkrun practice initiative has made fantastic progress in its first year, with 15 practices signed up already. We know that social prescribing can help to reduce the significant life-limiting effects of physical inactivity and our ambition is to see more GP practices partner with their local parkrun events in the county to become parkrun practices.”

Learn more about parkrun HERE – it is free to participate but you do need to register.

Read more about Neelima Chatterjee's experiences in a blog HERE

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