We are not going to pretend that we do not enjoy Green Gym. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes the great British weather does not oblige. But most of the time, we know exactly why no one pays us as individuals: Green Gym is its own reward.
The South Oxfordshire countryside is beautiful in all seasons. If you are lucky enough to have a close encounter with some of the wildlife, it can be an unforgettable experience.
- Winter is the best time for seeing Red Kites: with a 6-ft wingspan and spectacular plumage, their acrobatic displays and distinctive call can distract even the most seasoned Green Gymmer
- January/February brings the snowdrops
- Bluebells follow in March/April
- Spring and summer feature wildflowers and butterflies on the Chilterns downs, Lodden Lilies in water meadows by the Thames, and an annual orchid survey at a surprising site
- Autumn brings another wealth of colour to woodland – and all sorts of different fungi
- Then once again Red Kites are out in force …
Lots of academic research has been done for The Conservation Volunteers, notably by an independent team from Oxford Brookes University, to demonstrate that Green Gym does deliver:
- physical health benefits
- mental health benefits
We have been keen to check that our own sessions come up to standard. Two of our members carried out their own informal research, strapping a heart-rate monitor to a volunteer. They found that an average Wallingford Green Gym session can be just as effective exercise as a work-out at a conventional gym:
(Details at: Exercise Evaluation)
A follow-up study looked at what happens to our heart rates after we’ve finished.
Is it true that after a hard workout, you go on burning more calories?
Answer is at: Post-Exercise study
A range of tasks to suit everyone
We encourage Green Gymmers to participate at their own pace. Some of our members (like the ‘guinea-pig’ in our study) are used to high-intensity exercise. Some are completely new to regular exercise, or have not done any in a long time since leaving school. Most of us are somewhere between the two.
Young volunteers (16-25 age group) may be able to apply for awards for Green Gym participation via Vinvolved.
Sessions can also be counted towards Duke of Edinburgh Awards.