Blue Gym Research

Discussion, papers and research behind the Blue Gym.

Members: 29
Latest Activity: Sep. 2, 2010

The Green Gym – fore runner to the Blue Gym

Origins and development
The Green Gym concept was originally developed in the late 1990s by Dr William Bird an Oxford-based GP and BTCV. The first pilot was held in 1997. By 2006 there were 55 projects across the United Kingdom with an estimated 6,000 people taking part. The programme has received support from central government,[1] and won a Charity Award in 2005.[2]

[edit] Green Gym sessions

[edit] What happens
Green Gym groups meet at least once a week and do between 1 and 4 hours practical conservation or gardening work. All participants are Volunteers. Over two-thirds have never taken part in environmental conservation work before. Examples of the types of work undertaken include coppicing, clearing scrubland, path building, tree-planting or digging on an allotment.

The group usually meets at the project site. Sessions include a refreshment break and a chance to socialise. Activities are led by a qualified leader, and a session will typically run as follows:

‘Tool Talk’ – the safe handling and correct use of tools are discussed
Warm up – exercises to prepare muscles for activity and reduce the risk of injury
Work session
Work session
Gather up tools
Cool down – exercises to prevent stiffness

[edit] Health benefits
Both physical and psychological benefits are claimed for people who attend Green Gym sessions regularly.[3]

In 1999 and 2001, The School of Health and Social Care at Oxford Brookes University independently evaluated the Green Gym projects in Oxfordshire[4] and East Sussex,[5] England and identified the following benefits from Green Gym tasks:

significant improvements in cardiovascular fitness, provided that they are performed regularly.
improved muscular strength (as measured by handgrip strength) leading to increased coping ability and reduced risk of functional limitations in later life.
almost a third more calories can be burnt in an hour of some Green Gym activities than in doing a step aerobics class.
a significant improvement in the Mental Health Component Score in the first 3 months of participation (as measured by the SF-12 health-related quality of life instrument).
a strong trend in the decrease in depression scores during the same time period.
waist-to-hip ratio decrease in the first three months.
The Green Gym is viewed by participants as being beneficial to their mental health and wellbeing.

[edit] References
^ Department for Communities and Local Government – Special Grants Programme [1]
^ Charity Awards 2005, Animals and the Environment[2]
^ Natural Fit: Can Green Space and Biodiversity Increase Levels of Physical Activity? A Report by Dr William Bird for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 2004[3]
^ The Green Gym: An Evaluation of a Pilot Project in Sonning Common, Oxfordshire Reynolds, Veronica, Oxford Brookes University, 1999, Research Report No. 8, ISBN No: 1 902606 05 1
^ Well-being Comes Naturally: An Evaluation of the BTCV Green Gym at Portslade, East Sussex Reynolds, Veronica, Oxford Brookes University, 2002, Research Report no: 17, ISBN No: 1 902606 15 9

Discussion Forum

Samantha Hunt

Why do you use The Blue Gym? 1 Reply

Started by Samantha Hunt. Last reply by Chris Hines Oct. 1, 2009.

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Helen E Tozer Comment by Helen E Tozer on March 4, 2010 at 2:11pm
It does look interesting – which newsletter do you get, any chance you can send me a link please Anne so I can stay on the ball with this particular subject area. Maybe its something I can build on considering I have access to all the local psychiatrists. Thanks, Helen :O)
Samantha Hunt Comment by Samantha Hunt on October 1, 2009 at 7:44pm
Well, as you say, it is early days yet, so we are mainly looking at the feasibility of using the Blue Gym for pre-operative patients, whether this would improve pre-operative fitness levels, and then what impact that has on the patient post-operatively. Obviously we would want to compare the patients with some kind of control, but whether that would be an indoor gym or no pre-operative input, I don’t know at this stage. There may be psychological factors involved in using the Blue Gym rather than simply being asked to go for a walk every day etc which could affect people’s willingness or mental well-being which would also be interesting to look into. Thank you for taking an interest in what we are doing. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Mat White Comment by Mat White on October 1, 2009 at 5:52pm
Hi Samantha, this sounds very interesting. It’s early days for Blue Gym research but your ideas tie in nicely with the framework of research projects we are developing. Are you looking to compare the opportunities the Blue Gym offers with other ways of improving pre-op fitness (e.g. Green Gym, Indoors Gym), or you more interested in the underlying mechanisms relating to water exposure/use and fitness? I’d be happy to talk more with you and your colleagues. All the best Mat (Dept. of Psychology, Univ. of Plymouth).
Samantha Hunt Comment by Samantha Hunt on October 1, 2009 at 5:19pm
Hi, I’m a fourth year medical student at Peninsula Medical School and my colleague Charlotte Prosser and I are working on a research project alongside Mr Peyser looking at The Blue Gym and how it could be used to improve pre-operative fitness levels. We would be interested in hearing your thoughts on various aspects relating to this as it develops.

Members (29)

Chris Hines Samantha Hunt Cherish Maxwell Mae Aguilar Joanna Brazier Kelly Humphryes Clare Pettinger Dr Clive Sabel Felicia Sheingold Ruby Brown Lauren Allen Paul Roberts Ben Wheeler Mel Wright Peter Cannon nel savage Helen E Tozer Charlotte Prosser Mark Danielsen Philip Waters Diana Whelan Tanja Mod Le Froy Richard Merrifield Sabine Pahl Sue Boase Mat White Deborah Snelling Paul Peyser

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