May 14, 2021
Melanie Manson joined GoodGym Norwich back in July 2017. She discovered that running helped her mental health.
“As it's Mental Health Awareness Week, I wanted to promote the benefits of running along with volunteering as an aid to managing mental health” she explains. “I had been suffering badly with anxiety and depression, but I was discovering new ways to help me manage this and running was one of them.”
When Melanie, 44, heard about a running group where you could help other people to she felt it was just what she needed. She adds: “Not only does running release endorphins, the body’s natural mood boosters, but over time it has even been shown to increase the volume of the hippocampus, where humans regulate the stress response - how amazing is that!”
Melanie also volunteers as part of the TaskForce in Norwich. She explains: “I joined to be able to help out that little bit more and it gives me a sense of pride and achievement to report on what we've been doing and to promote local charities and organisations in the area.” Her tasks involve writing run reports, listing community missions, taking photos, back marking group runs so no-one is left behind, and leading walk groups.
Over the years, she has enjoyed many community missions and group runs, from gardening and painting to moving logs for the Scouts or visiting a care home. She has recently started volunteering for a new community mission every Friday with a project called 'Nourish', which is managed by fellow GoodGym member Andrea. Nourish is a food provision service for verified rough sleepers provided by 'The Feed' through the Pathways scheme in Norwich. “It provides food, support and signposting within a safe, indoor environment” she explains. “I can't wait to see this new project blossom and be part of its growth.”
Melanie says GoodGym gives her the ‘feel good factor’ and adds: “helping others and the social factor of running with an amazing, kind and caring bunch of people, I cannot thank GoodGym Norwich enough for helping my mental health to improve.”