For 2021, World Mental Health Day aims to highlight the major impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on people’s mental health and focuses on how more needs to be done to address the inequality in access to global mental health provisions.
7th October 2021
At Fresh Air Fitness we understand that the work we do with schools and councils across the UK is more important than ever and we are excited and supportive of communities who wish to learn more about the importance of access to exercise to improve mental health.
In 2020 and 2021, Schools have approached us for an outdoor gym design and installation to specifically support the wellbeing recovery journey of their pupils.
Equally, Councils are now looking for an outdoor gym experience, as part of a wider plan to improve wellbeing facilities in their communities; to make people feel happier and healthier.
We are on a mission to let everyone know that a Fresh Air Fitness outdoor gym is completely free to use 24/7, year-round, and is open to whole communities for the promotion of health and wellbeing through exercise.
Research shows that people who include outdoor exercise in their routine can reap rewards. Being outside can reduce our stress hormones by as much as 15%, making us feel calmer and more relaxed during our workouts.
Being close to nature has even more benefits. This includes positive effects on depression, anxiety and mood disorder. Access to nature has also been shown to improve sleep, increase happiness, hold back negative emotions, promote positive social interactions and even help towards finding a sense of meaning to life.
Being in green surroundings improves thinking, attention span, memory and even creativity.
Rushmoor Borough Council told us they wanted to install a Fresh Air Fitness Big Rig to improve the physical and mental health of the local community. Martin Sterio, Health & Physical Activity Officer told us the equipment “has already seen a huge amount of use” and “every park should have one”.
Children and young people have had to move through extraordinary times in the last 18 months and Fresh Air Fitness has received really positive feedback about how our outdoor gyms at schools have formed a critical part of the recovery journey for a return to full mental and physical health for all pupils.
Outdoor gyms in schools not only boost activity levels but getting involved is a fully inclusive activity. Pupils participate, but do not compete. Everyone can use the equipment at their own pace. PE lessons are new and exciting, breaktimes are active and fun and even after school clubs and holiday clubs have been using the outdoor gym equipment as part of their activity plans.
The Primary school range of Fresh Air Fitness outdoor gym equipment is designed specifically for children and sized for children. Secondary schools select equipment from our adult range. Schools tell us the outdoor gyms are immensely important in their wellbeing provision.
Miss West a teacher at Crookham Junior School told us “The outdoor gym equipment has been especially important for the children returning back to school after lockdown and it helps us as a school to promote fitness and physical activity. Children are keen, enthusiastic and are beginning to understand how the equipment can target different parts of their body to increase their fitness.”
Oliver Bullock, CEO at Thomas Bullock Primary Academy said: “We are grateful to all those involved in bringing this exciting outdoor fitness area to Thomas Bullock. The impact on our children has been positive both physically and mentally.”
Nici Cutler, Vice Principal at Hive College got in touch because they wanted more physical activity opportunities for all their students to improve not only their physical well-being but also their mental wellness. After installing their outdoor gym, she explained: “We have been so pleased with our new equipment. The students have gained so much from the equipment in terms of mental wellness, fitness and preparing for adulthood."
Our Fresh Air Fitness survey said: 94% of children agreed that exercise always or sometimes makes them happy, and 85% of children said they had done more exercise following the outdoor gym installation.
Give yourself time to exercise, be outdoors in the fresh air, laugh with friends, treat yourself, share your worries and do something you love. World Mental Health Day also means being aware of those around you. Do they need help? How can we listen and show kindness? How can we help others to access healthy provisions.
By taking action and talking to others, we can all do our part in remembering that mental health can be positive, negative, changeable and real. It is also intrinsically linked to (and probably inseparable from!) our physical health, and this is something we can have fun with and develop and enjoy with friends and family.Back to all blog posts