Beginning August 2017, Conservation Volunteers Australia is excited to commence a new program in Adelaide and Sydney respectively. Green Gym – Exercise to make a difference, is offered as a fun and free physical activity program where participants will be guided in practical conservation activities that will help to transform and restore urban green spaces for the whole community to enjoy. The emphasis is on health and social interaction – participants warm up and a cool down in preparation for gentle to moderate activities (such as tree planting, weed removal or even growing food in a community garden). Modern lifestyles mean that urban dwellers are less active and more isolated than ever before, thus the aims of the Green Gym program are to enhance mental wellbeing, social connectedness and improve physical fitness in individuals. Communities also benefit through the improved and maintained green spaces created through Green Gym.
Green Gym UK
Green Gym was pioneered 20 years ago in the UK by GP Dr William Bird and our partner, The Conservation Volunteers. Conservation Volunteers Australia has delivered Green Gym style programs in the past, but this was some time ago. Since then, the UK model has been refined and recently was awarded a Health and Wellbeing Award by the Royal Society of Public Health. It is this model that Conservation Volunteers Australia is now exclusively licensed to develop and deliver nationally, which we are doing as part of our Healthy Communities initiative that seeks to connect urban communities to nature, and help make our cities more liveable.
What’s different about Green Gym?
Green Gym is a standalone program to what Conservation Volunteers Australia currently offers; the duration and structure of the sessions, along with the primary focus on health, are primarily what sets Green Gym apart. We are promoting Green Gym through local primary health networks as well as with community partners.
The programs in Adelaide and Sydney have been funded by SA Health: Office for the Ageing, and NSW Family and Community Services as part of the Liveable Communities program, respectively. While Green Gym can be tailored to meet community needs or certain demographics, the Sydney and Adelaide programs are focusing on engaging participants aged 50 – 80.
There are lots of ways individuals and organisations can get involved as we seek out diverse opportunities for Green Gym. Visit our Green Gym page for more information.