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21 DECEMBER 2012 NEWS RELEASE No: 15789

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Get fit in the forest with the Forestry Commission

Family cycling along a forest trail

This January, make a resolution you can stick to by getting you and your family fit in the forest with the Forestry Commission.

Our woodlands are never more than a thirty minute drive away and come with endless possibilities to help raise your fitness levels, whatever your age or ability.  So make 2013 the year your family reaps the benefits of the Forestry Commission’s very own ‘Natural Health Service’.

Studies show that a quarter of the British population is now classed as physically inactive, putting the risk of developing cardiovascular disease even higher than before.  Just by increasing our exercise levels by 1% would prevent over 1000 premature deaths caused by the disease each year. 

Vitamin D deficiency and the children’s disease Rickets is also on the increase due to the lack of time they spend in sunlight.  Instead of staying cooped up inside this New Year, do your family a favour and let them hop, skip and jump through a local Forestry Commission woodland.

The Public Forest Estate in England offers plenty of options for people of all ages and abilities to get some ‘green exercise’ together.  From Nordic walking which uses walking poles to offer support whilst toning the upper and lower body, to gardening sessions for the green fingered and bug hunts for kids, there is something for everybody to enjoy. 

We even hold pushchair walking sessions such as Pushy Mothers and Walking with Wheels.

Charlotte Magowan, Forestry Commission, says:

“Pushy Mothers sessions are great for multi-tasking mums! Not only can you tone up, lose weight and improve your posture – you get to take baby for a walk in a beautiful setting too. We also have gentle Walking for Health classes and more intensive BodyFit Bootcamps led by personal trainers.  From toddlers to grandparents, there is something for everybody to enjoy.”

For much less than the price of a single monthly gym membership, an annual membership pass – the Discovery Pass – offers you and the whole family the opportunity to park for free at Forestry Commission woodlands and offers generous discounts off shopping and activities on and off site.  A Discovery Pass also entitles you to discounts off Go Ape and breaks at Forest Holiday cabins.

Spending time in natural surroundings is also highly beneficial to our mental well-being and has been scientifically proven to calm children who suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

So do yourself and your family a favour and get fit in the forest with the Forestry Commission in 2013.

To find out more information about our events, please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/forestfit

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible in England for protecting, expanding and promoting the sustainable management of woods and forests and increasing their value to society and the environment. Forestry makes a real contribution to sustainable development, providing social and environmental benefits arising from planting and managing attractive, as well as productive, woodlands.
  2. CJC Consulting (2005) Economic Benefits of Accessible Green Spaces for Physical and Mental Health: Scoping Study revealed that around 25% of the population are classed as sedentary. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease – the most common cause of premature death among adults in the UK.
  3. Davies JH, Reed JM, Blake E, Priesemann M, Jackson AA and Clarke NMP, 2011, ‘Epidology of vitamin D deficiency in children presenting to a paediatric orthopaedic service in the UK’ Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics’
  4. Forestry Commission Discovery Passes vary in price from £20 - £50 for annual membership. For more information visit www.forestry.gov.uk/pass
  5. Department of Health, 2009, Healthy Lives, Brighter Futures: The strategy for children and young people’s health.

Media contact:  Sara Chan, sara.chan@forestry.gov.uk, 0117 372 5107