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Christian Turner
Christian Turner

OCD Or Organised: Running Mad


Triumph Over Phobia (TOP UK)A UK registered charity which aims to help people who experience phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and other related anxiety. They do this by running a network of self-help therapy groups.




OCD or Organised: Running Mad



The group held events on and off for a couple of years, the frequency largely contingent on the organisers' own states of mental health: Rob was struggling with alcoholism and Pete was becoming increasingly "psychotic". Rob says it was fun and creative to work in different ways on a shoe string budget, outside the normal conventions of a protest movement, but that at times running an organisation made up of mental health patients was understandably difficult. Then, on December 15th, 2002, co-founder Pete Shaughnessy committed suicide.


There is substantial evidence to support the relationship between physical activity (PA) and various mental health outcomes across the lifespan [5,6,7]. There has been investigation of low-intensity PA on mental health; for example, Kelly et al. (2018) reported the positive relationships between walking and mental health in an earlier scoping review [8]. However, a similar synthesis for higher-intensity PA such as running has not been reported.


In recent years, there has been a transition within healthcare to focus on disease morbidity rather than disease mortality, in particular with a drive to improve global mental health [16]. There is increasing prevalence of mental ill-health; therefore, effective management of mental health disorders is vital [4]. In order to investigate any differences in mental health effects between high and low intensities of running, all genres of running must be considered including jogging, sprinting, marathon running and orienteering.


Eleven studies used a single bout of treadmill running, and all found positive pre-post differences in mental health outcomes [84,85,86,88,89,90,91,92,93,97,99]. Results found significant reductions in state-trait anxiety; total mood disturbance; and POMS subscales of anxiety, depression and confusion. A single bout of treadmill running also significantly improved self-esteem; psychological well-being; children and adolescent self-efficacy; state anxiety, depression and totally mood disturbance; adult self-efficacy; and general affective response. One study found that mood improvements were not evident until 40 min of running [88], while another found that depressed individuals participating in a treadmill run with increasing gradient improved depressed mood immediately post-run but that depressed mood increased at 30-min postexercise [93].


Three studies used a single bout of track running and found significant decreases in anxiety [78,87] and total mood disturbance [81]. Two studies found that a single outdoor run significantly improved depression scores and that even a 10-min jog caused significant mood enhancement [80,94]. Two studies found that a single bout of self-paced running significantly reduced all but one of the POMS subscales and had significant positive changes in all measures of states of affect [82,96].


A number of studies looked at specific populations. One investigated the impact of 10 organised runs on homeless people and found significant positive correlation with perceived self-sufficiency [138]. Two investigated the effects in children and found that running significantly improved creativity and higher self-esteem subscales [117,141]. Three looked at marathon training programmes: one found a positive correlation between the trend in running and self-efficacy but was not significant [136], while another found a significant increase in self-efficacy over the programme [76]. The remaining study used participants who were already self-enrolled in a marathon, and researchers found that, while anxiety decreased initially during training, anxiety increased as marathon day approached [135].


Studies from 1986 [153] and 1991 [154] warned that long-distance running had the potential to trigger development of eating disorders in people who were psychologically or biologically at risk. Early research also highlighted that runners should be aware of the possibility of addiction [155] and that women may be linked more strongly to negative addiction than men [156]. 350c69d7ab


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