Attack the week with Monday Morning Mile

To combat the sentiment that Mondays should be approached gently, the University of Adelaide’s Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology, Kevin Dutton, is encouraging people to get out of bed and attack the week head on.

Runners in a park

Photo credit: Francesco Ridolfi

On Monday, 4 March, Professor Dutton will launch the Monday Morning Mile – a free, weekly morning fun run happening at the Uni Loop in Warnpangga/Park 10, North Adelaide.

Professor Dutton founded the initiative in response to Bare Minimum Mondays – a trend in which people give themselves a soft entry into the week by staying in bed a little later, leisurely catching up on emails, and generally taking things easy.

A Bare Minimum Monday, according to Professor Dutton, is not good for our mental health.

“Everything we do sends out a message to other people and, most importantly, to ourselves. If we start our week hiding in bed, we’re sending out a message that Monday is a bully, and we’re letting it push us around,” he says.

“It might make us feel better in the short term, but in the long term, it’s storing up all sorts of psychological problems for us.”

Monday Morning Mile is an opportunity to stand up to the bully.

“If we adopt what I call an ‘attacking mindset’, we start the week on our terms, not Monday’s terms. We take control of the rest of the day, we take control of the week, and we start taking control of our lives,” Professor Dutton says.

The benefits of running to mental health and wellbeing are multifaceted and backed by evidence. Professor Dutton says that among these benefits runners can expect to experience improved cognitive function.

“A study conducted by West Michigan University found that Cortical Flicker Threshold, which is essentially your brain's capacity to fire in response to certain stimuli, increased after a half-hour stint running at a fast pace,” he says.

“Researchers from Nottingham Trent University have also found that sprint training can improve cognitive function, while another study found that interval-based running training improved ‘the ability to adjust behaviour to changing demands in young active individuals’.”

Running has also been shown to improve mental health and wellbeing – some of which can be attributed to the community that initiatives like Monday Morning Mile can build.

“It’s easy to forget that one of the biggest mental health benefits of running is that it offers you a chance to run with others, to chat and to feel part of a broader community,” Professor Dutton says.

“Shared running experiences and new social networks will not only enhance the health benefits of running but will bring you a new source of joy and sense of belonging. This is more important than ever, as society becomes increasingly polarised.”

Monday Morning Mile is open to anyone who wants to join, and participants are welcome to run, walk, jog, roll, hop, dance or skip – anything, so long as you’re out of bed and taking on the day.

The inaugural Monday Morning Mile will kick off at 6:30am on Monday, 4 March at the Uni Loop in Warnpangga/Park 10, North Adelaide.

Runners are encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early and gather out front of the Graduates Clubhouse. For more information, visit the Monday Morning Mile website.

Tagged in featured story, mental health, health and wellbeing, psychology