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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Free gym service

November 12 2009
If you‘re in Nottingham, get fit A support service in Nottingham is offering service users free gym membership. Thanks to donations from NHS Nottingham City, a day centre in Hockley has new sports facilities complete with a rowing machine, treadmill, weights machine, a Wii Fit and an exercise bike. To launch Emmanuel House's new gym and to celebrate Mental Health Awareness week, service-users, staff and volunteers ran a collective treadmill marathon on 15th October. Alastair Paylor, a homeless worker, said: "Loads of people really enjoyed it. Some people ran three miles quickly and others people walked a mile slowly. "We were also celebrating Mental Health Awareness week and wanted to highlight the positive relationship between exercise and mental health. There are two main reasons for people to improve their fitness - because they feel unfit or because of the positive effect it has on their mental health." Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural opiates, which are chemically similar to morphine. Paylor said events were a fun encouragement for people to join. "Slowly, people have been trickling through," he said. "The marathon encourage people who wouldn't have signed up had there not been an event. We are thinking of doing a triathlon next." Nottingham's service is a rarity, though not unique. In London, Forest Hill's Novo project takes service users to the gym and the Romford YMCA. Their well-attended sports centre and fitness classes are free to residents and help boost physical and mental health.