In these unprecedented and hugely challenging times, you can be forgiven for not thinking about sport. However, being as active as possible is going to be pretty important during this challenging period – not just for your physical health, but for your mental wellbeing.
If you are well and have no symptoms, going for a walk, run or a bike ride is a good way to get active. Just make sure you follow the advice on social distancing.
KUDOS is often inspired by interesting and unique ways in which to get more people active. We recognise that sport is a powerful force for good, and that that good can manifest in all manner of different ways. The GoodGym project is a truly inspiring and innovative idea that encapsulates all of that and more.
Its creation was driven by a frustration with regular gyms – the idea that the energy expended in gyms could be better spent – alongside a recognition that many people and tasks in our communities are neglected and in need of an injection of energy, and they wanted to bring those ideas together. Gyms all over the country, they say, are full of people pedalling, pushing, lifting and running themselves into the ground and for no benefit other than to themselves. GoodGym aims to harness that energy by making it easier for people to channel their energy towards social good – killing two birds with one stone.
So what does GoodGym do?
It’s quite simple. You normally run in groups or alone – supported and overseen by some of the best personal trainers and running coaches in the UK – before being dispatched on missions to do good in your local community. It can be a social visit to an isolated older person, or doing odd jobs for people not mobile enough to do them themselves.
Loneliness and isolation amongst older people is one of the big areas on which GoodGym looks to have a positive influence. Over one million people aged 65 and over admit to always or often feeling lonely, while 17% of those living alone see family and friends less than once a week. The ageing process sadly lends itself to losing friends and the quality of life of older people can be badly affected by it – and in normal times improving that quality of life for older people is one of its key remits.
Dealing with Covid-19
In light of the current crisis, however, GoodGym have had to alter the way they operate. They announced on their Facebook page:
GoodGym will be stopping group runs and changing the way we run community missions, coach runs and missions.
Following extensive research, consultation with our trustees and work on how GoodGym as a community can play a positive role during the Coronavirus outbreak we have reached the conclusion to make these changes to our operations.
As an organisation we aim to continue to provide important social and practical support to those who are isolated and to continue providing support to community projects and voluntary organisations, but we are making significant changes to our operations to reduce the chances that we are spreading Coronavirus.
Over the coming weeks we are going to be working to support the work of the Red Cross supporting essential provision of services to vulnerable people during the Coronavirus outbreak.
We will be issuing new training for mission runners and coach runners covering the delivery and additional safety measures. Please look out for further email updates. Goodgym
For more detail, check out their website.
The ability to make these small differences results in a hugely positive overall influence. In their own words, “though what we’re doing on each run may only have a small impact, our ability to easily mobilise hundreds of runners gives the project a large impact overall”.
GoodGym began operating in a handful of areas in London. It is now operating all over the country, including in Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Chelmsford, Colchester, Crewe, Croydon, Redbridge, Sheffield and loads more.
Collective action is going to be a central tenet of how we as a society adapt and deal with this crisis. Undertaking physical activity that beneﬁts your community, especially in times of crisis, and keeps you fit is simple, novel and extremely rewarding.
If you want to get involved in this fantastic concept check out their website. You can set up a GoodGym in your area too – email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
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