Sport, Exercise and Health encourages University staff and students to take a proactive approach to their health and well being. We provide a range of services and facilities, expert advice and support to help people achieve their health goals. Colleagues are based on three sites across the University – the Indoor Centre on Tyndall Avenue, the Swimming Pool on Queen’s Road and the Coombe Dingle Sports Complex on Coombe Lane. We have qualified health promotion staff, fitness instructors, sport coaches, nutritionists, physiotherapists and massage therapists on site and work in partnership with other health professionals, including those working in alternative medicine such as acupuncture, to deliver high quality services that can be tailored to each individual’s health needs.
The gym is based on the first floor of the Indoor Centre on Tyndall Avenue and can be accessed by a lift. We also provide disabled parking bays at our car park at the rear of the building.
The Pulse Gym has equipment supplied by Pulse Fitness, an IFI (Inclusive fitness initiative) company. All the equipment is designed with features to improve the use for people with disabilities. The machines feature raised buttons and colour coded adjustments for partially sighted users and we have 7 machines specially adapted for wheelchair use. Of these 7 machines 6 are weights resistance equipment. Many of the exercises in the free weights area using dumbells can be performed by all users. A targeted induction will be given to demonstrate all the options available. In addition, a personal programme can be put together at any time to guide the user.
Pulse instructors are trained to deal with the following specialist needs/conditions: Cardiac Rehab, C.O.P.D., Back Care, Cancer Rehabilitation, Disabilities Access, Osteoporosis, Joint Injury Rehabilitation, Pre/Post Natal and Mental Health Issues.
Our Sports Medicine team offers physiotherapy, osteopathy, pilates and acupuncture to anyone needing to address everything from aches and pains to serious injuries, sporting or otherwise. Depending on the severity of the disability we recommend people with disabilities meet the most relevant professional for a one-to-one session to agree a treatment plan as some of our services, e.g. mat-based Pilates may not be suitable.
At the moment, the University pool cannot accommodate wheelchair users or people with limited mobility. There are a lot of steps around both the changing rooms and the pool but plans are underway to address this issue. A major redevelopment of the pool will start towards the end of 2010 with a view to having this facility fully DDA compliant in 2011.
In January 2008 we installed a bulkhead that enables us to create a smaller pool area (12.5m x 7m) for teaching and rehabilitation. This area of the pool can be used by people with disabilities who might not feel confident swimming in the large pool area.
We work closely with colleagues in the Sports Medicine Clinic and Pulse Gym to deliver rehabilitation programmes for people recovering from physical injuries and chronic illnesses.
At any one time, one in six adults and one in ten children under the age of sixteen suffer a mental health problem. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems ranges from mild to moderate to severe. This condition can result from a significant stressful life event such as divorce, serious injury or conflict with friends or colleagues and is also recognised as a common clinical feature of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity or cardiovascular disease.
Physical activity, both aerobic (such as brisk walking, running and cycling) and resistance (such as using weights in a gym) is widely accepted as a treatment for mild to moderate depression and evidence shows it to be a low cost, socially inclusive and self-sustainable treatment that benefits physical as well as mental health. It also has a positive effect on both the prevention and treatment of anxiety. For people with experience of psychosis, such as schizophrenia, physical activity can be a good strategy for coping with distressing symptoms. By reducing stress levels, it can prevent symptoms being triggered.
People with mental health problems often have low self-esteem and physical activity can help address this as goals are set and achieved. However poor psychological well being, which limits our ability to change behaviour, can result in non-adherence to an exercise programme which demotivates us further. It is therefore important to identify a programme that will enable people with depression or anxiety to treat their condition by successfully adhering to a self-determined programme. Setting measurable and achievable goals is particularly helpful to begin with and working with a personal trainer is a great way of doing so. Our team of fitness instructors has lots of experience of working with people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities and are available for one to one sessions to help you set out a programme that suits you, your lifestyle and health priorities.
Please visit our website www.bris.ac.uk/sport for more information on the range of facilities, services and programmes on offer. Contact details for the various managers are provided and we’d welcome the opportunity to discuss your health and fitness goals with you.