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Why group exercise and being a part of the CommBank 4km is magic for your mental health

Woman competing in HBF Run for a Reason

On average, you take 5,200 steps in 4 kilometres of walking and 3,800 steps in 4 kilometres of running – we see that as over 3,000 reasons to get involved in the HBF Run for a Reason CommBank 4km. Every step counts, plus - the mental health benefits may mirror the physical, especially when there’s a group involved. Let’s talk about the feel-good energy and mental health positives involved in walking, wheeling or running in a pack – and get you excited about the HBF Run for a Reason CommBank 4km!

The mental health benefits of exercise

Research from around the world tells us that exercise is a powerful player in the prevention and treatment of anxiety and depression – with one study even showing that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective than counselling or the leading medications.1

Regardless of whether you are managing a mental health condition, exercise may help you:

  • feel more energetic throughout the day
  • sleep better at night
  • have sharper memories
  • feel more relaxed and positive about yourself and your life.2

Related article: Here’s how to exercise for mental health

What happens when a group is involved?

While we appreciate crowds aren’t for everyone, there are some major mental health perks when it comes to exercising in a group – especially when you can feel you’re doing something that’s working towards a positive cause (like HBF Run for a Reason) which adds an extra layer of kindness to your daily endorphin-hit!

We asked Health and Community Psychologist, Marny Lishman, to give us a run-down of some of the key benefits involved in exercising in a group. Marny mentioned that:

  • Working out in a group brings out our competitive edge, meaning we will spend more time exercising and often will push ourselves more to succeed.
  • Group activity often boosts our motivation and gives us more accountability, so we’re more likely to set out what we are trying to achieve.
  • Endorphins & Dopamine – those feel-good chemicals are released when we are exercising, but often in group situations, we are exercising, smiling and having fun with people which gives us an added bonus to boost our mood!

“Not only are we trying to achieve a goal ourselves when we are in a group, but our innate role in group situations is to support those around us too. Which aids in connection, purpose and a sense of belonging,” says Marny.

In summary

While chasing that runner’s high one step at a time is great for your physical health – there’s also something special to be said about the benefits for your mental health. Add a crowd of people running, walking or wheeling beside you – and you’ve got a huge release of happy hormones worth being a part of.

HBF is thrilled to have CommBank on board again as the sponsor of our 4km course – the CommBank 4km course is perfect for first-timers, families, walking buddies and all those legends dressing in tutus or clever costumes (always encouraged), plus prams are welcome and you can tell your glutes the course is flat and fun! Ready to enter? Click here.


  1. British Journal of Sports Medicine - Effectiveness of physical activity interventions for improving depression, anxiety and distress: an overview of systematic reviews
  2. Help Guide - The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise