The Idea

The government provides guidelines for healthy weekly activity levels1Department of Health. (2011). UK Physical Activity Guidelines. London: Department of Health. Meeting these guidelines results in approximately a 30% reduction in risk for all-cause mortality2Department of Health. (2011). Start Active, Stay Active: A Report on Physical Activity for Health from the Four Home Countries’ Chief Medical Officers. London: Department of Health. Nearly 80% of people in England do not currently meet key national government targets, and differences in inactivity levels correlate strongly with socio-economic position, however that is defined – by age, gender, ethnic group and income3Farrell, L, et al. (2013). The Socioeconomic Gradient in Physical Inactivity in England. Bristol: The Centre for Market and Public Organisation. England has an inequality problem within its inactivity problem.

Numerous studies show that reasons given for inactivity are around poor self-efficacy and self-worth, and this is affected by feeling socially and culturally supported while exercising4Trost, S.G. Et al. (2002). ‘Correlates of Adults’ Participation in Physical Activity: Review and Update’ Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34 (12), 1996-2001.. Most gyms do not provide this, encouraging an individualistic culture of machismo and body-shaming and cynically relying on non-attendance to make profit5DellaVigna, S. & Malmendier, U. (2005) Paying Not to Go to the Gym.. Studies have demonstrated that alongside intrinsic motivation, financial incentives may improve adherence6Gneezy, U., Meier, S. & Rey-Biel, P. (2011) ‘When and Why Incentives (Don’t) Work to Modify Behavior’ Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(4), pp. 191-210.. A co-operative model of membership can combine both a supportive culture and financial incentivisation.

Bristol Co-operative Gym will be a space designed and run by its members that prioritises adherence and engagement with local communities identified as being least active. It uses an innovative, not-for-profit, co-operative management structure and a supportive culture alongside evidence-based, affordable training methods to support its members towards better health outcomes.

Become a member or book a trial here

References   [ + ]

1. Department of Health. (2011). UK Physical Activity Guidelines. London: Department of Health
2. Department of Health. (2011). Start Active, Stay Active: A Report on Physical Activity for Health from the Four Home Countries’ Chief Medical Officers. London: Department of Health
3. Farrell, L, et al. (2013). The Socioeconomic Gradient in Physical Inactivity in England. Bristol: The Centre for Market and Public Organisation
4. Trost, S.G. Et al. (2002). ‘Correlates of Adults’ Participation in Physical Activity: Review and Update’ Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34 (12), 1996-2001.
5. DellaVigna, S. & Malmendier, U. (2005) Paying Not to Go to the Gym.
6. Gneezy, U., Meier, S. & Rey-Biel, P. (2011) ‘When and Why Incentives (Don’t) Work to Modify Behavior’ Journal of Economic Perspectives, 25(4), pp. 191-210.