What happens at a Green Gym session?
Green Gym groups meet at least once a week and do between 1 and 4 hours of practical conservation or gardening work. It’s a great way to get your heart and muscles working, and is a great alternative to a conventional gym or sports centre. The group usually meets at the project site. Sessions include a refreshment break and a chance to socialise. Activities are led by a qualified leader, and always include warm-up and cool-down exercises to prepare the body for activity, training in tools and equipment use and an explanation of how the project will benefit the local environment. Find out more about what happens at a Green Gym session
What about health and safety?
Each session is risk assessed and managed to keep everyone safe. All volunteers receive training on how to use the tools at the beginning of each session. All project leaders are trained in First Aid, safeguarding and heath and safety.
Do I need to bring my own tools or equipment?
No, we provide all the equipment you will need.
Do I have to wear anything special?
Sturdy boots with a good grip and clothes you are happy wearing for outdoor work, and which you don’t mind getting dirty are best. It’s a good idea to take a waterproof coat in case of rain. In the summer take suncream and a bottle of water. If you do not have any suitable boots or clothes then contact your local group and they may be able to help.
Do I need any previous experience?
No. The Green Gym is a great way to learn new skills and experienced leaders will be on hand to show you all you need to know.
What happens if it is raining?
That depends. Generally, rain will not stop a session going ahead, and waterproofs may be available for you to borrow. However, if weather conditions lead to unsafe working conditions then the leader may have to cancel the session in advance. In this case, all volunteers expected to attend will be contacted to let them know.
Can I bring my children?
Under 16s are welcome on Green Gym sessions when accompanied by an adult. Those between 16 and 18 are welcome, although we ask that a parent or guardian signs a consent form in advance.
Will I fit in?
You will have spoken to the group leader before you arrive, and they should be able to tell you about other people in the group. The leader will welcome you into the group, and introduce you to other people there. You might find that some people are there for the same reasons as you. Most Green Gym participants make new friends.
Will you organise transport for me?
Because most Green Gyms are run in the same area as the community they are intended for, people walk, take the bus or cycle to the project site. Directions to the meeting point and a map will be sent to you in the Welcome Pack. If you would like help with transport, please contact the group leader. Many Green Gyms work on the same site each week, while others work on different sites. Some Green Gyms have a minibus and the group will arrange a pick-up point for you.
How physically fit do I have to be, and how strenuous is it?
Green Gym sessions provide different activities to suit all fitness levels. You are always encouraged to work at your own pace. You can increase the amount you do over a period of time if you want to.
Can I come along if I have a medical condition?
We ask all participants to let us know in confidence if they have any conditions that might affect their ability to get involved. Usually, there is no problem, and you will be encouraged to work at your own pace. Sometimes we may advise that you consult a health professional before you come along for the first time.
I’m fit already, is the Green Gym right for me?
If you want an alternative way of working out and want to improve your local environment then the Green Gym is for you! Our research shows that some Green Gym activities such as coppicing (which involves cutting down small trees) are comparable to a vigorous step aerobics class. You will also learn about practical conservation or gardening, meet new people and improve your local environment.
Can I just turn up on the day?
We ask people to contact the group a few days beforehand if they intend to turn up so that enough tools and materials can be provided for everyone. Calling in advance will also give you an opportunity to check that there have been no last-minute changes to the schedule.