Virtual running has become very popular in the last five years, which has inspired me to write about on the topic and start Furever Home Running. While reading about running, I came across the 2017 Physical Participation Report published by the Physical Activity Council. They report an estimated 81.4 million people in the United States are physically inactive (Physical Activity Council, 2017). Physical inactivity is linked to “major non-communicable diseases, such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers, and shortens life expectancy” (Lee et al., p.219).
Why is this relevant to virtual running? My own research shows those who participate in virtual running events do so in part because of the fitness aspects they offer. Additionally, virtual events allow the flexibility and convenience some need/want to participate in something they may otherwise wouldn’t (for real or perceived reasons). Finally, motivation to participate (via the swag offered or the charity supported, to name two) may be increased and thus, increase activity in those who are typically inactive.
While not the panacea solution, virtual running events may offer both an outlet and incentives to reduce physical inactivity and improve the health status by reducing one of the SNAP (smoking, nutrition, alcohol, and physical inactivity; Noble, Paul, Turon & Oldmeadow, 2015) risk factors.
For those who participate in running or multisports activities (virtual or live), how do the health benefits influence your decision to participate?
Lee, I., Shiroma, E. J., Lobelo, F., Puska, P., Blair, S. N., & Katzmarzyk, P. T. (2012, July). Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: An analysis of disease and life expectancy. Lancet, 380(9838), 219-229.
Nobel, N., Paul, C., Turon, H., & Oldmeadow, C. (2015). Which modifiable health risk behaviours are related? A systematic review of the clustering of smoking, nutrition, alcohol and physical inactivity (‘SNAP’) health risk factors. Preventative Medicine, 81, 16-41.
Physical Activity Council. (2017). 2017 Participation Report.