May 24, 2019 3:18 pm

Shoppers Love. You. Run for Women supports local mental health programs

The Shoppers Love. You Edmonton Run for Women supports the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.

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For the fifth year, runners will take off from Sir Wilfred Laurier Park in support of the Lois Hole Hospital for Women.

The Shoppers Love. You. Edmonton Run for Women on Saturday, May 25 supports women’s mental health programs at Lois Hole. Runners can choose between a 5K walk/run, a 10K run, and a 1K option for those with kids.

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“Every year we try to outdo ourselves,” said Lindsay Peddle, director of communications for the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation. Last year, the run raised over $300,000 — a record for the event.

“We have more racers every year, and over 2,300 racers this year,” Peddle said. “When it began it was only about 1,400. So [that’s] almost a thousand more runners in such a short period of time, [and] it’s really because of the commitment of Shoppers and the team who’ve been driving this home every year.”

READ MORE: New Edmonton research centre focuses on women’s health

The run takes place in cities across Canada, supporting local women’s mental health programs. This year, much of the funds will go towards work being done at Lois Hole around the connection between menopause and depression, as well as other mature women’s mental health issues. Dr. Sue Ross has been working to develop an app called Text for Menopause that they hope to go live with soon.

“It is a self-driven app that women who are experiencing… symptoms of menopause and depression can privately sign up to use,” Peddle said. “It will provide [women] with general statements of support and care. It will also help connect them with resources if they need more support than the app can provide.

“So really, it will provide that first step into looking for someone to support them in this new part of their life.”

According to Peddle, women’s health has historically taken a back seat — and that includes mental health. By participating in the run, racers contribute support and advocacy to the issue of women’s health, and also experience the physical and mental benefits of aerobic exercise.

READ MORE: Edmonton walk raises funds for mental health and suicide awareness

“There’s studies that say exercise that raises your heart rate not only helps with heart health and physical well-being, it also has a huge effect on your brain — just like the effect that an anti-depressant drug would have,” Peddle explained.

“That’s not to stay that it replaces some people’s need for medical interventions. But it’s certainly a step — pun intended — in the right direction to get people moving, and understanding that not only will this run help them be physically well, but mentally well as well.”

The Shoppers Love. You. Run for Women takes place in 17 cities across the country.

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