Want to increase your physical activity and improve health through the use of local parks and facilities? Well, a research team at the University Of Newcastle want to hear from you.
You are invited to be part of a research study, which is being conducted by Professor Ronald Plotnikoff in partnership with Lake Macquarie City Council and Newcastle City Council. It’s called ecofit and involves the use of a purpose-built app that guides participants through the correct usage of outdoor gym equipment located in seven public parks and trails across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.
Groups of up to four people can enrol, or it can be done individually with access to a closed Facebook group for social support.
People who sign up to be part of the program must complete at least two self-guided sessions per week over the 12- week program. There are beginner, intermediate and advanced workouts so it doesn’t matter what your fitness level or prior exercise experience is, you can jump on board.
Professor Ron Plotnikoff, Director of the UON’s Priority Research Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition and co-leader of the HMRI Cardiovascular Research Program, says that the findings will help in the future design of services provided by local councils and that the program is designed more for the average person than those with rippling muscles.
“Health guidelines recommend adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate exercise each week, including at least two days of resistance training,” Professor Plotnikoff said. “But a lot of people are deterred by the cost of gym memberships, concerned about injury, or just feel intimidated and embarrassed walking into a gym.
“Outdoor activity, however, has lots of advantages, including being free and highly social. Studies also show that it improves mental health and mood, perhaps even more than indoor exercise sessions.”