Marie Hines knows how important physical activity is to a person’s health. That’s why she decided to bring exercise to the hospital where she works as a neonatal nurse.
Thanks to her planning and organizing and some generous donations, the staff at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London can work out without straying too far from the office.
Healing with Fitness
The gym, or movement garden, was a passion project for Hines. She says the gym was designed to help patients and staff “maintain” their independence and fitness levels. She learned the value of exercise after volunteering as a personal trainer and teaching yoga in London.
It was funded by the Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. The group created the gym to help staff recover from the fallout caused by COVID-19. Many nurses and providers have complained of long hours, poor working conditions, and high rates of anxiety and depression.
But installing a gym outside of St. Thomas’ Hospital could help them heal. They can easily hop outside for a quick workout during their lunch break. It’s also a place for socializing as providers take a break from their duties in the hospital. It sits directly on the hospital grounds overlooking the River Thames and Palace of Westminster.
Avey Bhatia, Chief Nurse at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said, “We know that getting outside and exercising has real benefits for our physical and mental health. Now, as we recover from the pandemic, focusing on our wellbeing has never been more important.”
“It is absolutely fantastic that thanks to donations to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity we have such a great facility here at the hospital that people can use for free,” Bhatia added.
The Trust has been designing wellbeing zones at various facilities that offer psychological and spiritual support. The latest project was built by The Great Outdoor Gym Company (TGO), which has installed more than 1,500 outdoor gyms across the world, including those in London’s Olympic Park and Australia’s Bondi beach.
Georgie Delaney, co-founder of TGO, said, “Movement is a wonder drug. We can all do our bit to take the pressure off the NHS by being more physically active. We are delighted to have a gym in such a significant hospital in London. St Thomas’ is truly leading the way!”
The gym equipment also converts the power generated by the user into an electrical charge, so people can charge their devices at the same time.
All the machines are open to patients, staff, and visitors. It’s accessible for older adults and those with disabilities. They come with pictures and simple instructions that make them easy to use.
“As a nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital, I felt we could also offer this support to our own patients, by having an outdoor gym where they could maintain independence, fitness and socialize with visitors away from the ward,” Hines added.
“I am very grateful to our charity for their support and hope patients and staff will make the most of this gym that has the best view in London.”