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AMHS patients make gains with new exercise equipment

11 October 2023

Inpatients at Princess Alexandra Hospital’s Addiction and Mental Health Services (AMHS) unit are getting their heart rates and reps up with new exercise equipment installed at the unit’s East and West Wing courtyards in early September. 

With four new machines installed in each wing and doors open from 7 AM to 9 PM, patients are working out on their own terms; but Advanced Recreational Officer Adam Le Flay says the benefits reach far beyond physical gains. 

“We know there’s a direct link between exercise and mental health. We ran our own project a while ago where we got patients to exercise every day, and the feedback reinforced that exercise helped with their mental health. That was a big reason we pushed to get this equipment installed,” he said. 

“People can come out here to exercise, and get rid of some frustration at the same time. As recreation officers, we run various groups and activities, but this gives them another outlet, and it’s something they can do independently.” 

Mary (pictured), an East Wing inpatient who finds her rhythm on the bike, says the equipment calms her body and mind.

“Here in the East Wing, I feel I can be much more independent and focus on myself. A huge part of that is the gym equipment, because when I have nothing to do or I’m stressed out, this steadies my mind,” she said. 

“When I first came here, the first thing I did was just sit on the bike and pedal. It was really nice, and it’s a huge relief for me. I feel really respected as well. Being able to access this equipment in a neutral setting feels very comforting. I feel looked after, like we’ve got the essentials here.” 

With patients coming from a range of different backgrounds, Adam says the equipment was carefully selected with functionality, durability, and accessibility in mind. 

“We tried to look at equipment that targets all the muscle groups, so we have a bit of variety, and we tried to get equipment that’s appropriate for all fitness levels. You don’t need to be a gym junkie to use it. Anyone of any age or any ability and gender can come and use this equipment.”

Following the positive response at East and West Wing, Adam plans to expand the project to the rest of the AMHS unit and looks forward to seeing more patients benefit from the equipment. 

“A lot of the time, patients come in with an exercise background, they go to the gym every day. Now when they come here, they’ve got equipment to continue that routine and stay healthy. I’ve seen how important that exercise is for patients’ mental health and for their journey,” he said.

“This is phase one, so we’ve done the East and West Wings first, and then in phase two we’ll be doing North Wing and the HDU.”

Last updated 11 October 2023
Last reviewed 11 October 2023

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