Green Gym: Natural exercise for health and wellbeing

From 21 August 2017, residents from Sydney’s east aged between 50 and 80 are able to take part in the nature-based physical activity program: Green Gym, funded through NSW Family and Community Services Liveable Communities innovation program.

Green Gym is a group outdoor exercise class where participants are guided in practical activities such as planting trees, removing weeds, creating green spaces or even growing food for their community. The emphasis is on health and social interaction - participants warm up and cool down in preparation for a range of gentle to moderate physical activities.

The Green Gym model is distinct from other forms of conservation volunteering, and was pioneered in the UK 20 years ago, where it recently won an award from the Royal Society of Public Health. Evidence has shown that Green Gym:

  • reduces social isolation
  • provides moderate physical activity and improve muscle strength
  • benefits mental health, self-esteem and confidence through learning new skills and completing new tasks

Benefits stem from:

  • spending time outdoors in green spaces
  • positive social interaction and inclusivity
  • gentle to moderate, functional exercise

Each week for six months, Green Gym will be held at Centennial Parklands (Monday), La Perouse Bicentennial Park (Wednesday), and Randwick Community Centre and Environment Park (Friday), with morning and afternoon sessions.

GPs and health professionals are encouraged to discuss Green Gym with their patients as a form of non-medical sources of support within the community. Referrals or enquiries regarding eligibility criteria may go to CVA’s Sydney Office: 9331 1610 or sydney@cva.org.au.

For more information visit www.conservationvolunteers.com.au/green-gym/