Posted on February 05, 2020 by Gordon Smith

Exercise can bring people together and can strengthen relationships. Whether they are colleagues burning off stress in the workplace gym, students at college, neighbours in Build to Rent gyms or guests in the hotel. Gyms and exercise spaces can create lasting, worthwhile friendships based on the healthiest of activities.

Gyms have even been the venue for the odd marriage proposal! Yes, many people have genuinely found love and romance in the gym. (If you don’t believe me, read on till the end of this article).

That’s why motive8 is continually looking for ways to increase the community spirit in gyms and exercise spaces – whether that means friendship or love. Let’s look at how that works in practice.

Modern tech is not always helping to bring us together

Social media, smart phones, Skype, online dating (to name but a few). These technologies have changed society in so many ways. On the surface, they bring people together but, as we are now beginning to realise, they can also create more insular lifestyles and potentially impact long-term mental health.

As the first generation to be born into smartphone and social media culture, it’s a sad but unsurprising fact that millennials are the most isolated generation with 30% stating they often feel lonely. In fact, an extraordinary one in five say they have no friends.

Loneliness isn’t purely a millennial issue though. It’s something that affects all generations at some point or another. Sadly, depression is on the rise and suicide rates are increasing amongst the 50+ male demographic.

There are many reasons loneliness and depression are on the increase, but two well-known factors that can help people are exercise and fostering a sense of community and belonging.

Benefits of exercise

It’s a well-known fact that exercise can help improve mental health. Research has found that doing regular exercise three times a week can improve your mental state.

People who suffered with poor mental wellbeing for around 3.4 days per month found that this was reduced to two days when regularly exercising, which was mainly cardio-based activity, such as cycling, aerobics and, more interestingly from a social angle, team sports.

Working together towards a common goal, which is how team-based activity works, really highlights the benefits of group exercise and the importance of people being together and competing together.

Example: Blackhorse Mills Development

One of the projects motive8 is most proud of is Blackhorse Mills, a new waterside community in Walthamstow, East London. It is a Build to Rent development by Legal and General that targets the 25–45 year-old demographic.

The aim of the development is to create an inclusive community and become a hub for residents to meet, workout, work and socialise. As a result, there are many communal spaces throughout the complex, ranging from private dining rooms to a terrace and a games room.

We worked on the development to provide a state-of-the-art gym and an outdoor pool or lido. All of these spaces have been created with socialising in mind. For example, beside the lido is a sun lounge where people can relax after their swim, instead of heading straight back to their apartment.

We also take care of managing the gym at Blackhorse Mills as well as the workout studio. It is an interactive space that uses virtual tech, which means people can choose whatever exercise they want, ranging from Spin to Yoga. The workout studio is set-up so that there are group classes to encourage people to get out of their apartments and get socialising. Residents can also exercise on their own or invite neighbours to join in a smaller class.

Get socialising at work

As an employer, a great way to get your employees motivated, engaged and socialising with colleagues is through a gym. It can provide employees with a motivating environment in order to burn-off excess stress and get away from their desk.

Nick Sadler, Managing Director, m8group says:

“The great thing about an office gym is that there is no hierarchy. People are there to get fit and learn workout tips from colleagues. It’s a great environment to get people talking on a social level”

In 2017 there were over half a million employees suffering from work-related stress, but in 2018 it rose to 602,000. That amounts to around 12.5 million work days lost as a result of this problem. It’s clear employers need to address this problem.

A good workout will also help remove employees from the cause of the stress and give them a fresh perspective on a problem or issue; therefore, the gym not only becomes a place of fitness, but also a space where employees can take control and feel more positive about work or, potentially, their life in general.

Later Living

Nearly 4 million older people say the TV is their main company, which shows that it is extremely important to get pensioners out exercising and socialising. In fact, did you know that loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%?

As a result, Later Living Schemes are becoming increasingly popular and it’s a fast-growing market for us. With the over 65’s ranked as one of the most sedentary age brackets – spending up to 10 hours a day sitting down – the need for a gym space is extremely important on these developments.

Not only do they help residents keep fit, but they also become social hubs for neighbours to meet and get talking. Through the gym space on these developments, we’re seeing a range of additional activities emerge, such as walking clubs, which is a great way to get people out in the fresh air and socialising.

The overall key to helping a more insular society is to get out, get active, get cardio and get talking. You never know where it might lead you, young or old, who knows, you could even find love!

Why not get in touch with us to find out more?

Gym proposals

Oh and by the way, in case you didn’t believe us about those gym marriage proposals – here are three of the very best!

An unexpected proposal from the lunge position!


Surprise workout proposal

An epic cycling studio proposal!