Meet Ivo Gormley, founder of GoodGym. A do good get fit community of runners that do good deeds such as visiting older people and supporting local community projects, while getting fit in the process.
The concept began in 2009 when Ivo decided to swap “lifting things that didn’t need lifting” and “running nowhere on treadmills”, to delivering newspapers for the elderly.
Now with 20,000 registered runners, GoodGym has grown to become one of the most popular running clubs in London, showing how many of us are looking to add more meaning to our workouts…
What is GoodGym?
GoodGym arose out of a frustration with normal gyms being a waste of energy and human potential. In gyms all over the country people work away furiously; peddling, pushing, lifting, running and achieving no external benefits. GoodGym harness this energy by making it easier for people to channel it towards helping others around them.
We do three things: Run in groups to do physical tasks for community organisations. Run to make social visits to isolated older people who we call our ‘coaches’ because they motivate us to keep going. 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.
Because it fits into our lives, it’s easier for us to commit for the longer term. Though what we’re 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.
What’s your motivation behind 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 1 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 aging you lose a lot of friends. It’s really sad, and it does affect your quality of life. Loneliness is difficult to cope with.” – Joan Boulter, 87.
What are your plans for the future?
GoodGym is open to everyone in multiple locations across London. We are aiming to launch a further 10-20 areas by the end of 2017 and want to rival the success of gyms and get people all over the world off treadmills and into their communities!
To find our more visit the GoodGym website