People enjoying a Green Gym

Green Gym

Exercise that makes a difference.

Green Fitness

What is a Green Gym?

TCV’s Green Gyms are fun, free outdoor volunteering sessions offered across the UK transforming local green spaces.

Weekly Green Gym Sessions Are:

  • 3 – 4 hours long
  • Supported by trained leaders
  • Inclusive with activities ranging from light to vigorous gardening or conservation work
  • Include a social tea break
  • Include learning new skills

The weekly sessions give you the opportunity to join like-minded volunteers to plant trees, grow food, create wildflower meadows, manage woodland, and more – all with the guidance of your highly trained TCV project leaders. So, you can be confident you’re joining a safe and welcoming project.

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Benefits of Green Gym Sessions For You, Your Community and Nature

  • Get Outdoors: being surrounded by greenery has been shown to improve overall mental health and reduce heart rates.
  • Get Active: Conservation work or gardening is a great low impact way to exercise your whole body.
  • Meet Local People: Our volunteers love meeting new people, so no need to be shy, enjoy coming together to form a team!
  • Learn New Skills: From tool use and plant ID to group leadership, there is something for everyone.
  • Make a Difference: All sessions improve a local green space for people and wildlife.

Proven to Increase Wellbeing and Reduce Stress

The Department of Health and GPs recognise the invaluable impact that Green Gyms can have on those who take part.

GPs now prescribe Green Gym sessions to patients to encourage them to improve their health and wellbeing. By taking part, participants are encouraged to make positive changes to their lifestyle, such as walking and cycling more.

Green Gyms also enhance mental wellbeing through increased contact with nature, the social benefits of group activity and helping people contribute something positive to their community. TCV work closely with partners, including mental health charity Mind, to continually innovate Green Gyms to ensure that they maximise the benefits for participants.

Proven to Support Wellbeing

Not only do these sessions improve your health and stamina, they also benefit local green spaces.

Unlike many conventional gyms, taking part in a Green Gym is free and a great social activity too, allowing you to meet new people and work together to transform your local area, while also learning new skills every week.

New paper just released by the University of Westminster and University of Essex shows significant increases in wellbeing after engaging in Green Gym.

See full study - Increased Wellbeing following Engagement in a Group Nature-Based Programme: The Green Gym Programme Delivered by the Conservation Volunteers

There were significant increases in wellbeing after engaging in Green Gym, with the greatest increases in those who had the lowest starting levels of wellbeing. Wellbeing increases were sustained on average 8.5 months and 13 months later in those providing a follow up measure.

Dr N Smyth, Dr Lisa Thorn and Dr. Carly Wood

Green Gym also featured in an innovative study run by the University of Westminster for the BBC2 programme Trust Me I Am A Doctor.

The study monitored changes to the level of the stress hormone cortisol in separate groups of participants taking part in Green Gym, Yoga and Mindfulness sessions. Compared to a similar group of participants that did not engage in any extra activity, the participants in the Green Gym group had an average 20% improvement in cortisol awakening response, which was increased up to 35% in some participants. This study also showed that Green Gym participants reported higher levels of well-being and lower levels of stress.

Just 8 weeks of participation in TCV’s Green Gym showed clear enhancements in the cortisol awakening response which is beneficial for health and well-being. Participants also reported marked reductions in anxiety as well as reduced feeling of stress. This study looked at mental health, however, the physical activity and social nature of Green Gym is likely to have many other health benefits that warrant further research.

Professor Angela Clow, University of Westminster

Green Gyms Are Growing

The demand for Green Gyms is growing with more launching each year.  Green Gyms allow people to connect with nature, their community and to create and maintain accessible and sustainable green spaces.

Tempted to try it out? Why not join in with one of TCV’s 100 Green Gyms across the country, get fit, meet new people and transform your local environment and community.

If there isn’t one near you, TCV run lots of other projects for you get to get involved with.  TCV also supports 100’s of community groups through the community network.

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Sponsor a Green Gym

Would your organisation like to help the local community by setting up a brand new Green Gym? Or would you like to support one of our established Green Gyms?

TCV has a range of flexible corporate sponsorship options for organisations who would like to work with us.

Sponsor a Green Gym

Green Gym is an internationally registered trademark of TCV. Please contact greengym@tcv.org.uk to discuss using the Green Gym logo and licensing opportunities.