Article Text

Original research
Parkrun as self-managed cardiac rehabilitation: secondary analysis of a cross-sectional survey of parkrun in the UK
  1. Steve Haake1,
  2. Thomas W Johnson2,
  3. Jessica Bourne3,
  4. Helen Quirk4 and
  5. Alice Bullas1
  1. 1Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, Bristol Heart Institute, Bristol, UK
  3. 3School of Policy Studies, Department of Exercise Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  4. 4School of Health and Related Research, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Steve Haake; s.j.haake{at}shu.ac.uk

Abstract

Objectives Cardiac rehabilitation following a cardiovascular disease (CVD)-related illness has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and hospital admission. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 3–5 days per week of moderate to vigorous exercise. Despite this, only 38% of those eligible complete rehabilitation programmes. Parkrun organises free, weekly, timed, 5 km running or walking events. The aim of this study was to investigate whether parkrun can support self-managed cardiac rehabilitation.

Methods We undertook a secondary analysis of a survey of UK parkrunners, comparing responses of those reporting no health conditions (n=53 967) with those with one or more CVD-related conditions (n=404). Thematic analysis was used to analyse 53 open-ended text comments from the latter.

Results Four hundred and four respondents (0.7% of the total) reported CVD-related conditions with the largest proportions among those walking the event (24% of male participants and 5% of female participants). For those doing <3 days per week of physical activity at registration, 47% increased activity to ≥3 days per week. Among those with CVD-related conditions, participation in parkrun led to perceived improvements in fitness (81% of participants), physical health (80% or participants) and happiness (74% of participants). Two thirds reported improvements to their ability to manage their condition(s) and half to their lifestyle choices. Analysis of 53 open-text comments revealed that those with CVD-related conditions used parkrun to monitor their condition and were motivated by encouragement from the parkrun community. Enjoyment and fun were important for engagement, although some individuals were dispirited by poor performance due to their conditions.

Conclusions Individuals with CVD-related conditions used parkrun to self-manage their rehabilitation; this applied to those attending parkrun following disease onset as well as those engaged with parkrun prior to their condition. Parkrun, or events with similar characteristics, could support self-managed cardiac rehabilitation.

  • cardiac rehabilitation
  • epidemiology
  • delivery of health care
  • coronary artery disease

Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are available on reasonable request. The datasets used for this study can be found in the Sheffield Hallam University Research Database (SHURDA: DOI: http://doi.org/10.17032/shu-180037). Access to the full anonymised dataset is possible through the parkrun Research Board, as outlined in original the participant information sheet.

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This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

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Data availability statement

Data are available in a public, open access repository. Data are available on reasonable request. The datasets used for this study can be found in the Sheffield Hallam University Research Database (SHURDA: DOI: http://doi.org/10.17032/shu-180037). Access to the full anonymised dataset is possible through the parkrun Research Board, as outlined in original the participant information sheet.

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Footnotes

  • Contributors SH, AB and HQ designed the survey, managed its collection and validated the initial dataset. SH carried out all analysis on the paper and created the first draft. TWJ, JB, AB and HQ contributed to further edits and the final manuscript. As guarantor, SH was responsible for the overall content and the decision to publish.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests SH is Chair and AB and HQ are Deputy Chairs of the parkrun Research Board, while other authors are parkrun participants. For the purpose of open access, the authors have applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.