GoodGym arose out of a frustration with normal gyms being a waste of energy and human potential. The project rapidly developed by a team of wonderful people won first prize at the Social Innovation Camp in 2008. A pilot project was launched in Tower Hamlet in 2009.
What exactly does Good Gym do?
1. We run in groups to do physical tasks for community organisations.
2. We run to make social visits to isolated older people who we call our “coaches”
3. We run missions for older people; clearing gardens, changing lightbulbs and doing odd-jobs for people who struggle to do them alone.
We are supported by some of the best personal trainers and running coaches in the UK. They come on our group sessions and help us keep our fitness and technique on track. Why are we doing it? We think that gyms are a waste of energy. There are many neglected tasks and people in our communities that need that energy. We want to bring these things together. Something we’ve been working on a lot is loneliness and isolation amongst older people. Over a million people aged 65 and over admit to always or often feeling lonely, and 17% of those living alone see family and friends less than once a week. As one person describes it “With ageing you lose a lot of friends. Its really sad, and it does affect your quality of life. Loneliness is difficult to cope with.”- Jean Boulter, 87.
GoodGym makes a contribution to improving quality of life for older people. You can read stories about the runners and coaches here. Though what we are 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. Good Gym is now open to everyone in more than 30 areas of the UK. We are aiming to launch in a further 10-20 areas in the very near future. We want to rival the success of gyms, getting people all over the world off treadmills and into their communities. If you would like to set up GoodGym make contact .