Urban fitness specialists StreetGym®, today announced the launch of a Code of Practice for fitness professionals operating in the built environment. With urban running and functional outdoor exercise set to surge in popularity, there is increasing potential for conflict between urban landowners, local authorities, security staff, physical activity leaders and participants.

StreetGym® founder, John Allison said: “Up to now the fitness industry hasn't outlined the advanced working practices specifically required for urban operations and we seek to address this. This isn't about reducing freedom and fun in the urban environment, it’s about reassuring urban space stakeholders, including members of the public and giving existing fitness professionals the right tools for the job, in a very complex environment.

“When compared with a sanitised gym environment or even a public park there are a far greater array of threats to consider in the city, ranging from disease, pedestrian choke points, pollution levels, group dynamics in an urban setting, to the selection of appropriate items of street furniture or architectural features for use as workstations,” he added.

The StreetGym® code of practice is designed to open the door for collaboration between physical activity bodies such as UKActive, London Sport, councils, architects, planners, and landowners. In addition it will provide reassurance that fitness coaches have the right skills needed to prevent accidents or damage in the urban environment.

Covering elements such as advanced situational awareness taken from the military, building rapport with landowners, communicating with the public on the go, assessing the suitability of street architecture and furniture, the Code is a UK first. With local authorities increasingly clamping down on urban sports practitioners there is an urgent need to look at new ways to rebuild trust and reduce the potential for conflict in the built environment.

Street sports psychogeography expert Dr Mike Jeffries said: “The idea of a code could be very useful” and he added: “Councils are increasingly using a Public Space Protection Order as a means to address a catch-all mix of activities from skateboarding to begging and I can see this increasing.” Landowners are becoming increasingly fearful of property damage or litigation as a result of injury to members of the public or exercise participants. What appears to be public space is actually often private land and furthermore Dr Jeffries said: “Cities are increasingly being marketised as spaces just to make money so the free use of space does not fit that model.”

Notes for editors:

1. We have a number of hi-res iconic photos from StreetGym® in London, available on request. We’re also available for interview and filming. Some of our clients may also be available for interview and journalists would be welcome to attend a session with a view to writing an article.

2. StreetGym® founder John Allison served in the British Army for 24 years, primarily in the field of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) and Combat Engineering. He’s now a workplace wellbeing consultant and also runs Motion To Mind™

3. Trainers wishing to operate in the urban environment can further enhance their understanding, employability and attract more clients by attending the new StreetGym® Certified Coach course. This groundbreaking certification grants the trainer a licence to practice as a StreetGym® Certified Coach, the first qualification of it’s kind in the UK. Further announcements to follow.

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