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Green Gyms
Written by Catherine Davis   

Green gyms offer a way of keeping fit and healthy in the open air by doing conservation or gardening work that benefits the community and the local environment.

Participants take part in a range of practical projects including clearing footpaths, building dry stone walls, creating green spaces, planting trees and growing vegetables.

Sessions generally last half a day and are run by a group leader who will train you in the use of tools and equipment. No previous experience is required. You work at your own pace and there are tasks to suit all ages and levels of fitness.

Green gyms provide physical exercise that works the heart and muscles, builds strength and stamina and can help you to lose weight and stay in shape. Engaging in purposeful activity is also very satisfying. Many people find it therapeutic, helping to relieve stress and combat depression; and learning new skills and meeting new people can enhance confidence and self esteem.

Green gyms are run by the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV), and supported by the Department of Health.

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