Everyone knows that they should exercise. But finding the time and energy to do it is a problem for many McGillians. Louise Lockhart, Registered Nurse with the Student Health Services, says wellness and mental health are a priority at McGill, and that is why there are four free Spin Bike Gardens available to everyone on campus.
The free spin bike stations are in the Brown, Trottier, McIntyre, and Redpath Buildings, with plans for a fifth at McConnell Residence. The bikes are in easily accessible spots with attractive and efficient modules designed by Brighita Lungu, PhD, School of Architecture, with input from Occupational Therapy students as well. The modules are brightly coloured, with plug ins for phones and other electronic devices, plants and art.
The idea is to provide a quiet, convenient mental health break in areas where students and staff are busy at work, and make cardio activity more accessible to the community.
Lockhart says that people know that if they exercise they will perform better, but they worry about the time it takes, privacy, sweating, changing their clothes and energy they don’t have. Any or all of those can act as deterrents.
“We are finally filling the gap between knowing and doing with new ideas,” she says. “We are using a behavioural science lens or what others might call behaviour insights. We are addressing people’s excuses, while also encouraging them to look at exercise as quicker and easier than previously perceived.”
Getting someone to actually do what they know they should sometimes requires a system change, says Lockhart. Making it an easier decision, or at least a more enjoyable one, is what the Spin Bike Gardens spaces are all about.
Just ten minutes on the spin bike in your regular clothes, can wake you up, and help you focus better on your work. Twenty minutes is even better, says Lockhart. She says hopping on the bikes can help break out of negative self-talk, plus help people experience less brain fog and a better mood almost immediately after riding the bikes. High intensity or previous experience are not required.
Mental health is a prominent and serious issue on campus, and everyone knows that exercise can improve mental health. Students and faculty deal with a lot of stress and the spin bikes help practitioners to concentrate better.
The Sustainability Projects Fund and Student Services Innovation Fund saw potential in this common sense yet innovative way to increase the sustainability of our wellness.
Get more information on the Spin Bike Gardens online or watch the video below.