LONDON, United Kingdom — ukactive Research Institute is set to collaborate with Biofit; the world’s first indoor biophilic gym concept, to launch a groundbreaking new research project.
Analysing the effects of exercising in a nature-inspired indoor environment, on key markers such as mood, anxiety levels, attention span and mental performance, the research team hopes to understand if the physical and mental health benefits found in nature-based environments are transferred into a biophilic indoor environment.
“Previous research into the wellness benefits of nature-inspired design has focused largely on corporate offices, schools and hospitals with findings showing positive gains in productivity, enhanced learning comprehension and increased healing rates,” explained Dr Steven Mann, lead researcher at the ukactive Research Institute.
“However, to our knowledge, this is the first of its kind in a gym environment so we’re very excited to be breaking new ground and looking forward to reporting the findings,” he added.
Extending its nature-centric ethos, from its green interiors to its training methodology, Biofit combines real-world exercises with mindful movement to engage the brain. Founded by entrepreneur Matt Morley in 2015, the concept will be brought to life in the form of a pop-up studio, which is set to launch in London, in January.
Morley, who is aiming to counteract the effects of a sedentary, 21st-century lifestyle, argues that human evolutionary history shows we’ve been lifting, carrying, jumping, striking and crawling for millions of years, while working at varying speeds and intensities.
Integrating this type of mobility work into every session, he hopes to “restore range of motion and protect the joints from injury,” while using “play to practice new movement skills and stimulate the neurological pathways in a fun, interactive way.”
The no-tech studio space, will feature the use of natural vegetation, colours, materials, shapes, scents and sounds – an approach which is already being leveraged by tech companies such as Apple and Google for its impact on employee stress and productivity levels. In response to the lack of suitable equipment on the market, Biofit has also developed its own range using natural materials such as timber, cotton and rope.
Set to commence during Biofit’s month long pop-up, ukactive’s research project will study elements of psychological wellbeing, attention-related task performance, and feelings towards nature.
The non-for-profit fitness organisation is also keen to see if Biofit’s concept helps to get more people, more active, more often.
“The benefits of Green Exercise are well established, and this research provides the opportunity to understand if similar benefits are seen within an indoor nature-inspired gym. BioFit enables individuals to become more physically active in a green environment and I think that will be an appealing prospect for many sections of society,” Mann told Welltodo.