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24 September 2014

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You are in: Bristol > Nature > Nature features > The alternative, gentler way to work out.

The alternative, gentler way to work out.

Green Gyms are springing up all over the country - there are four in the Bristol and Bath area - giving people the chance to get fit in the open air.

Green Gym members at work

These days we are all being encouraged to get more exercise and generally take a greater interest in the environment.

The conservation charity BTCV, is offering people the chance to get fit by improving their environment, by taking part in one of its Green Gyms projects.

The charity says it gives people the chance to ditch sweaty, indoor gyms for some old fashioned fresh air and exercise.

Green Gyms get people involved in things like hedge planting, woodwork, path building, cutting back open spaces and helping to build community gardens.

"In the winter we do hedge-laying and looking after wood-land areas. In the spring we do weeding, looking after paths, woodwork and building shelters"

Jenny Darwin

The four in this area are in Bradley Stoke, Bristol, Bath and Weston-super-Mare.

Jenny Darwin, who runs them, said: "It is gentle exercise, which all goes towards the recommended half an hour of exercise a day."

"Sessions start and end with some basic warm up exercises and cool down activities. Members are trained to use the tools and learn about the conservation work through-out the three hour work-out."

GPs and other organisations refer people to the Green Gyms for a variety of health reasons.

They can be useful for people who need to lose weight or to recuperate after surgery, or for anyone who can't cope with the relentless pace of a conventional gym.

Green Gym members doing stretches

Heart patient Dave, goes along to the Green Gym at the Three Brooks Nature Reserve in Bradley Stoke.

"Getting outdoors is really important to me. At the green gym we do gentle exercise, which is great for people with conditions like myself," he said.

"It's nice and easy, it doesn't cost anything and its very social...and you're helping to do something good." 

BTCV says it's opened 80 projects in the past ten years and it has a steady stream of interest from people who either want to join or want to set up a new Green Gym.  

last updated: 03/04/2008 at 08:38
created: 14/12/2007

You are in: Bristol > Nature > Nature features > The alternative, gentler way to work out.

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